Our commitment to the well-being of our employees was rewarded this year by being selected as Montreal’s Top Employers 2020!
A wonderful accomplishment!
Ludia is very happy and proud to be part of this ranking. More than a distinction, it’s an accomplishment that echoes all the efforts made in our studio to promote the well-being of our employees and allow them to have a good balance between their professional and personal lives. This encourages our desire to go even further, to offer the best possible work environment in order to carry out exceptional projects and to promote the development of our Ludians!
The criterias for an exceptional work environment
The Montreal Top Employers 2020 ranking is based on a list of precise criterias that reward the most exceptional work environments in the Greater Montreal area! These are divided into 8 distinct categories:
(1) Physical work environment;
atmosphere and social aspect;
financial and family benefits,
Holidays and free time;
Dedicated employee communications;
Training and skills development;
Ludia was able to meet these criterias with some of the highest scores to make it into the final rankings! But our studio distinguished itself more specifically around these 3 reasons:
Along with three weeks of starting vacation allowance, Ludia is supportive of employees spending time away from work with paid time off during the winter holidays (up to five days) as well as up to five paid personal days off, which can be scheduled as needed
Ludia lets everyone share in the company’s success with profit-sharing and year-end bonuses, and also offers generous referral bonuses for employees who help recruit friends (up to $5,000 per successful hire)
Ludia’s head office features a number of onsite amenities and perks including unlimited breakfast goods (bagels, English muffins, raisin bread), fresh fruit, a fully stocked employee lounge (video games, pool table, a tiki bar and personalized beer on tap known as “La Ludique”) and free membership to an onsite fitness facility
When people ask what is the role of a community manager, the most common answer we hear is that they spend alot time surfing on social media without understanding the real purpose. Since this profession did not officially exist a few years ago, varies from one company to another, and is still constantly evolving, it is only normal that one might not recognize its true value.
Here at Ludia, we understand the value that our Community Department brings through their everyday’s hard work engaging and exchanging with the passionate fans of our games. So when we hear that the most common vision of their role does not do them justice and is so far from reality, we decided that it’s time we highlight the important work this department is doing on a day-to-day basis. Without further ado, here’s an introduction of the vibrant Community Management team and a brief breakdown of their mission!
Community management: the complexity of a “new profession”.
Social, digital, creative and engaging. These 4 words might give you a first glimpse of what lies at the heart of the work of our community managers. But it would be a lie to tell you that this complex and constantly evolving profession can be reduced to just a few words. The reason why it is so complicated for many people to understand this position is that it is relatively new and the community managers work in a very fast paced environment.
If we were to give a general outline of it, the basic mission could be summarized as: to continuously improve retention by creatively and effectively animating, engaging and interacting with the communities, and to sustainably increase digital and social fingerprint for Ludia and its games. The focus is to foster strong relationships with our communities and to create a bridge between fans and developers. All this will create a virtuous circle of exchanges for the good of both the games and the communities.
The keyword is engagement. Every idea that will be thought of and creative material created will serve this goal. Engaging can take many forms: entertain, inform, surprise, interact, share, value, reassure, praise, etc. Engagement will have an effect on the community’s dynamic, attraction and retention for the game and dedicated networks.
The main functions are organized around different axes:
– Monitoring the latest trends (industry, competitors, other brands, top trends) – Creating appealing content – Brainstorming for ideas to tease, build hype and excitement – Scheduling and planning the content according to a precise calendar (while remaining reactive and up to date with new trends or news) – Interacting and engaging continuously with the communities – Interacting and fostering relationships with Influencers, Content Creators and Ambassadors – Analyzing and optimizing the performances of strategies and publications – Sharing good practices but also failures to allow the whole department to move in the right direction and learn
All these steps must be thought of for the different platforms because each one of them will have its own social strategy, content to focus on and technical constraints. The main platforms managed by our team are :
– Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Youtube – Official Ludia Forum
Of course, according to the different trends and the emergence of novelties, new platforms can be explored (like TikTok). In any case, the team always makes sure to be present wherever our communities are, more or less intensely.
And this is done for all our games! You see, no time to wander around really 🙂
The vibrant team of Community at Ludia
Being a great community manager requires several essential characteristics such as having strong writing skills, being creative, attention to details, curious, a tiny spark of adventurous spirit and knowing how to learn from success but also mistakes. One thing to remember, according to Marcus Tan, our Head of Community Management, is that “there is no magic formula in community management”. It’s a job of constant learning and that’s what makes it such a stimulating role on a daily basis!
When we take a look at Ludia’s Community team, beyond professionalism, several things stand out. First the energy, the positivity, the vibrant side and the brains of its 6 members always bursting with new and greater ideas. Then the feeling of trust, openness, transparency and sharing that are so very present among the team.
All members evolve with a common goal and the desire to make the games and the whole team shine. No solo work here, no one hidden in a tiny corner. Yes each member has his/her own communities to manage but sharing is one of the most valued elements. Thanks to the follow-ups and weekly meetings, more or less formal exchanges on the latest trends, ideas to try or develop and the sharing of the latest victories and failures, our community managers nourish their minds and inspire each other. They help each other and combine their strengths to overcome obstacles and difficult situations together.
Everything changes very fast in community management. Trends, codes, what is considered creative, what becomes outdated, everything can go on and off in the blink of an eye. The team must therefore be insanely reactive and always on alert. The main challenge is to succeed in creating engaging content that will delight fans while capturing the attention of a new audience. In order to engage the communities successfully, it is a complex work to stay creative, inspired and as possible to try not to reuse the same content. It requires good capacities of adaptation and the ability to identify key indicators and analyze results. Yes, being a community manager also means having a sharp analytical mind!
Once again, this is not an exact science, because humans are at the heart of the role and the results! You need to A/B test, adapt, succeed, make mistakes, interact a lot and sometimes trust your gut-feelings to get to know the personality of your community. This is valid for new communities being created but just as true for the one already established. As every human being who’s part of it, a community has a subjective and changing vision.
A strong trust shared with the production’s team and our licensors
Preparing and planning for the games launch as well as the announcement of various promotions and the daily animation of the social platforms, Community works very closely with production and our licensors.
In both cases, trust and deep respect have been built over the years. Exchanges are open. Community’s expertise is appreciated and taken into account when it comes to anticipate players’ appreciation of an upcoming update or to share ideas for new features, optimizations or events according to the players’ expectations and trends. Community is also, just as our “Moderation and Social Care” team, a great ally to identify bugs immediately reported by players, and provide great help in resolving these issues in a timely manner. A great mutual support with production naturally emerged for the good of the games and our communities.
Same with the licensors: an established trust. Of course, licensors’ approval rounds take place in order to validate the content, but the partnerships are so strong and based on solid foundations that Community can easily propose new ideas and test new mechanics. Working in such close proximity with our partners gives the Community access to exclusive content, the ability to attend events (such as the 25th anniversary of Jurassic Park and D&D Live 2019: The Descent) and receive great social support. All this allows us to provide higher quality and interesting content to our fans!
A community management department is so much more complex than you thought, isn’t it?
“Oh! You work in the Marketing department? What do you do exactly? Where do you fit in the production cycle?”
We hear that a lot. If you ask the people around you what marketing does in a video game studio you’d get answers like: they create tools and strategies to promote games and help with internal and external communications for the studio. Indeed, the big picture may look a lot like that. But we also often hear that marketing “only creates nice, pretty images” or that “everything is done last minute”. Believe me, I’ve done the exercise!
That being said, we’re not just about creating “nice images”. To show you what we do on the daily, let’s begin by introducing ourselves.
Creative Services: Who are they exactly?
First, who are we? We are the Creative Services team here at Ludia! In a few words, we’re a pretty cool team managing the creation of promotional videos and images of our games, ensuring that both our studio and our games get a great visibility externally, making them shine and last through time.
Let’s get back to basics, shall we? What are our daily goals and who is part of the team?
Our department is composed of a multidisciplinary team of graphic designers, web designers, motions designers, video editors, and sound designers.
We study vigorously the market, our competitors, and the different updates and events occuring in our games. This information allows us to create assets that are perfectly aligned to our players’ reality and our studio’s image. Every image or video created has gone through a well reflected process of research and development.
In order to keep up with what’s relevant in terms of our games, we also have a close relationship with the production team. We try to avoid, as much as possible, last minute requests, in order to deliver only thoughtful work. We constantly check Confluence pages dedicated to projects, and also maintain a close relationship with Producers and Artists. Staying up to date and having close communication are key.
Promotional images but so much more…
One of our main responsibilities is creating promotional images. But we don’t stop there. We create visuals and animated content for our communities, web sites, newsletters, audio content, and video trailers. The tasks we handle are so diversified that even internally, people in other departments, still get amazed at all the things being produced by our marketing team. From time to time, when sitting in on interviews with our recruitment team, even they get surprised by all the current projects going on.
This continuous variety in our missions and the multi-talented people on the team allows us to interact with various departments in the company: executives, producers, leads, animators, artists – most would be surprised to find out that we are connected to all of them at one point during a project.
How can we build such close links with all those different departments? We developed, little by little, the right knowledge and capacities to help. Today, we know by heart what each department needs, we gather as much data and information as possible, exchange ideas based on our experience and on what’s going on in the market. Thanks to that, we are able to suggest possibilities and solutions whenever necessary.
Daily, we discuss ideas, study references, search for what’s new and trendy, and transform the information received and collected into relevant images and videos that deliver results.
By continuously engaging our players, we are able to help games stay relevant and players coming back even after years of their first release. A good example of this is our game “Dragons: Rise of Berk” which was released in 2014 and which still has a LiveOps Team to promote sales, new dragons, and new events.
Our work is the result of deep reflexion and rigorous analysis
To create engaging and relevant material, we base our work on research conducted by other departments and the license at hand. In our promotional material we always try to put a spotlight on player favorites or what makes the players more reactive to an ad. This explains why in our Dragons games, Toothless and Light Fury are featured in most of the promotional material, and in Jurassic World: Alive you might see, sometimes quite funny AR situations, seeing as this feature enables us to display a dinosaur in the real world.
Our research can also lead us to creating new assets we would never have thought of on our own. For example, by checking in with our Community Department, we noticed that fans were screen grabbing splash screens because they really liked them, so we decided to offer phone background wallpapers based on them (and more!) in the Jurassic World: Alive landing page. We now see a good amount of wallpaper downloads after every update.
To stay up to date and relevant with a game, we also analyse competitor strategies and what they might do differently regarding User Acquisition Ads, Promotionals Videos, Community Pages, Newsletters, and so on.
Remember when we mentioned that we are a multidisciplinary team? As you can see, it is more than necessary to be multifaceted when we look at the list of all the tools and different channels used in promoting a game
Working for our games, but also for our beloved Ludians!
Not only do we work for the games, but we also take part in our studio’s internal and external communications! For our parties or assemblies, the Communication’s team comes to us for the creation of all the assets required for the events: posters, cards, pins and videos, we always love to lend a helping hand.
We also take part in more big scale external events such as MIGS for example, by supporting the Communications and Human Resources teams. We can create posters, cards, one pagers, graphic elements for goodies or social media publications, but also corporate videos illustrating our daily life at Ludia and our amazing games.
Being a point of contact for almost every department, we discuss with producers, communications and HR teams about their needs and expectations so we can participate in the creation of those assets and improve the visibility of our studio, who we are and what we do at Ludia. These elements combined help in attracting new talent, and in creating a positive impact on employees in the studio.
Our ambition: to make a positive impact
It is so important for us to see the results of our work, internally as externally. We hope to make a positive impact, and that what we create can last through time for both our player base and our coworkers. We are so proud to support the development of clear communications internally and even prouder if we can contribute to the attraction of new talent. Externally and for our games, it is always a huge satisfaction to know that we contribute to the players’ engagement. We study new ways of attracting players, help in the preparation of new game launches, and collaborate with all departments to help our studio grow. If a game still appears fresh and exciting after 5 years, and we, at marketing, have a little input on it, we are more than happy!
In a nutshell and a few hundred words, that’s what we do, this is who we are as part of Ludia. Maybe sometimes we do things that look shiny and cool – and sometimes just plain and to the point, but there’s always a purpose behind it. We love being part of this dynamic and ever changing environment. We take pride in delivering great assets, that are relevant and creative, and that deliver good results. Each day, we do our best to be up to this challenge!
So next time you see an ad, a poster, a video, a promotional offer, a landing page, a pin, please think about all the amazing people behind the work and everything involved that made it possible!
Every studio has a different name for this team. They are what you could call our daily heros, working in the shadows, answering our players on forums and app stores. They help players the best they can and give advice with kindness in mind. They also bring player experience to the production team, by sharing player opinions. Production teams use their feedback to level up the quality of the game. At Ludia, we call this team“Moderation and Social Care”. That name is representative of what they do, which is to take good care of our communities.
Their work, their daily interactions with players and production teams, their challenges and their adaptation to work-from-home… we decided to shine a spotlight on them and let you in on this amazing group of people!
Moderation and Social Care: What do they do exactly?
You’re probably familiar with job titles such as “Player Experience Manager” or “Game Master”. But at Ludia, those titles did not fit with the personality and mindset of our team. After some time of reflection, we came up with something that was more representative: “Moderation and Social Care Specialists”or as we refer to them internally the MSCS team.
The main objective for this wonderful team? To keep our communities on forums and app stores as happy and safe as possible, which allows us to in turn keep our employees safe as well.
But, what is it they do exactly?
All the forums, app stores, comment spaces; our team manages, not to mention in several different languages too! Their goal is to ensure that all questions get answered as quickly as possible, and that everyone respects communication guidelines, to update all platforms, inform players of any changes or updates, and ensure the safety of our communities .
It is a very meticulous and rigorous role that requires a lot of energy and dedication. They must identify questions, research information, evaluate the risk of aggressive comments. They need to act fast, with kindness and understanding, be able to interact with diplomacy, and make difficult decisions when necessary. The internet is indeed a funny place, where certain people seem to forget how to act respectfully. Comments can be hurtful, even violent and threatening at times towards other players and our employees. MSCS ensures to flag these, evaluate their risk, and as a result take the necessary measures . Between you and us, no one likes to ban someone, but safety always comes first. It remains our top priority.
Internal and remote employees: coming together for our players!
At Ludia, 5 amazing people make up this department. But we are lucky to count on remote colleagues as well. A total of 16 people are also part of the team. Based in several locations abroad, from the US to Scotland, Poland to the Philippines, and other countries, this allows us to better serve our communities around the world.
Rigorous organization and distinct specialties for a top performance
You guessed it! With all the hard work that comes with managing various platforms, the team needs to be very organized and have a good grip of time management to fulfill its mission.
In addition to it’s manager, every internal team member of MSCS works on app stores management as well as the moderation of forums, but a specialty is assigned to each. Two people are assigned the biggests app stores that have numerous and highly engaged communities and some of the forums, two other people are managing the biggest forums with the most active communities and some of the app stores requiring a bit less time to manage. This way, every platform is covered efficiently by one of our experts. Comments that require answers are replied to within 24h. The priority is to offer the best service to our players. When a new member joins the team, specific attention is paid to give them the best tools and pieces of information to better organize their tasks and work schedule. In order to guide a new employee, they receive an example of a typical work day, the tasks that need to be completed, the time it should take etc. Each person being different, organization can be too. If difficulties had to occur, the manager would take time to discuss, evaluate and understand the blocking points and the best way to rectify the situation.
Besides one-on-one meetings with their manager, who cares more than anything about putting the wellbeing of the team first and is available each time someone expresses the need to talk, the team also has 3 meetings a day. They discuss workflow, energy and the mental state of each team member, definition of new priorities and redistribution of the platforms according to the current situation. Those meetings are essential for the good work and dynamic of the team. There are also less formal meetings just aimed at taking a deep breath, being together, laughing and sharing some time together to let go of the pressure that could have come up.
Most people tend to finish their work day at 5:30 p.m., for the MSCS this isn’t exactly the case. Alternating each day, each member of the team is on-call. They monitor the platform to make sure app-stores and forums stay safe places whether it be day, night or the weekend. Isn’t it a great proof of their ruthless commitment ?
A close link with production
In order to plan the workflow, and because they are anticipation masters of our players’ reactions, MSCS takes part in production meetings where new updates are announced. Those meetings are fundamental for the organization of the team. It allows them to work on their priorities calendar, and make sure no major update is made on the exact same day as the one planned for another game. This indeed could result in a huge inflow of comments, that could be very difficult to handle. Some producers even integrate MSCS before the update announcement to get their feedback. Players’ perception is key, and the team can bring this vision and expertise to the table.
MSCS’s role is even more relevant during soft launches, as it is a direct window to the players visions and reactions. At that time, optimization can still be made before the worldwide launch. Our community’s feedback is then a golden source of information, extremely useful for the production team.
Front row seats to player reactions
Throughout forums and app stores, MSCS get an exclusive view on player emotions or behavioral changes. This can be such a great moment when reactions to the launch of a feature are positive, for example. But when reactions are negative, it’s quite the opposite.
With the current pandemic and lockdown, the situation can sometimes be difficult to handle for a lot of people. Our team has noticed huge changes in terms of player behaviour these last few weeks on our platforms. Our players are more committed than ever, they come back, share a lot, discuss regularly about the games. This part is extremely positive and reminds us how lucky we are to be part of this wonderful industry, we are truly blessed. But in parallel to that, we can deeply feel the tension. There is, with no doubt, a huge effect on our communities’ mental health: more sensitivity, fast answers based on emotions, sometimes more distress, anger and aggressivity are common lately.
A huge challenge: mental health
Our amazing team,Moderation and Social Care, just as all Ludians, deeply care about our communities. During these weird and difficult times, it is more important than ever for us to pay special attention to our players, and double our efforts to keep everyone safe, promote well being and good mental health for all. When they feel like it is needed, the members of MSCS do not hesitate to remind the entire community of different help and emergency contacts(all links will be available at the end of the article).They have even decided to make them available continuously on the forums page. No matter the player, they make it clear that this person counts, and is not alone.
Beyond the players, our employees’ mental health is also a top priority at Ludia, maybe even more within the Moderation and Social Care team. As said earlier, it is such a passionate job but can be demanding and threatening at times. Comments said in distress can also hit hard to our wonderful MSCS team members behind their screen, as they have a lot of empathy; an amazing gift but sometimes a burden. Ludia and even more so their manager take great care of discussing with each team member to check in if they are ok, be the listener they need, offer extra time off and implement fun activities to cheer them up! The last one implemented: share the funniest comments of the community! This works every time by bringing a bit of joy and lots of laughter to everyone.
Another thing that helps a lot? Sharing and the continuous support! All team members, internal and remote, are invited to share, express themselves, be open so that everyone can contribute and be honest, improve procedures, and lift team spirit. The managers main focus: “That everyone has a voice, to encourage everyone to express themselves and not keep everything bottled up inside.”. Good listening and transparency, are the pillars of this incredible committed, hilarious, and passionate team.
And during covid-19, how has working from home changed for the team?
In all transparency, if a team has all the tools on hand to be able to work remotely, it’s surely the Moderation and Social Care department. As mentioned above, part of the team is working remotely already. Have you ever noticed that the team is also available not only evenings and weekends but also during the holiday season when our studio is closed? A work-from-home approach was already taking place for this department. The preexisting team’s cohesion, great management, and organization has allowed them to be fully operational and as effective as usual since the announcement of the temporary closing of the physical studio..
Of course, some points are not as easy to handle. It can be a bit difficult to get the answers needed right away,there’s a delay when waiting for a reply on Slack, we can’t just stop by our coworkers desks anymore, or take an actual face-to-face break together. So MSCS compensates with more team and one-on-one meetings, Slack conversations, and videoconferences.
On a brighter note, everyone has decided to make the best of the situation and try to enjoy the small joys of working from home: spending more time with family members, being able to jump in a workout session during breaks, being able to listen to any music, working with a lovely cat on your knees!
Advice for people interested in joining such an amazing team?
It is a fantastic job, and it’s even better when you are lucky enough to be part of a hardworking, passionate, and fun team as our beloved Moderation and Social Care one at Ludia. To succeed in that type of position here are two tips : have tough skin and have a tremendous sense of humour! With these two qualities, there is no doubt you’ll be a future shining star in moderation and social care!
To wrap up, we wanted to add:
For everyone managing moderation, forums, and app stores: we see, we care, we are so proud. Simply, a huge thanks!
To everyone else: Be kind and indulgent, always, with others but even more so with yourself. Take great care! #everythingwillbeok
*If you ever feel the need to, here is a list of help and emergencies numbers. Please never hesitate to use those and ask for help. It is the best gift you could offer yourself, and one of the bravest things in the whole world.