Just in case it's needed, I will go ahead and start off saying this is complete speculation here. I may be jumping to quite a conclusion, or I could be onto something. Right now, we don't know, but hey, let's have a little fun, eh? If you came here for facts or unfun, you're in the wrong article.
Anyway, back to the point. We haven't heard anything from NCSoft regarding their western port for Blade & Soul, the Korean-based martial arts MMO. In fact (oops, I guess some facts will end up slipping in), we haven't heard anything about Blade & Soul since December. December 2012. You know, that month that was one year and eight months ago. Blade & Soul, which released in Korea in June of 2012, China in November of 2013, and Japan in May of this year, is still marked as TBA for everywhere else. Excuse the extra facts there.
Still, it's been nearly a year since we heard that Blade & Soul would be ported to the west, and here we are, wondering what exactly that “TBA 2014” on the game's Wikipedia page means. We know that anything on Wikipedia should be taken with a grain of salt instead of facts, which fits in just nicely for a speculation piece. 2014 is nearing its end, or at least is now halfway over, and since NCSoft has been super quite for the entire first half of this year, it makes you wonder if they've forgotten about Blade & Soul's western port or if they're quietly working up to something before they unleash the hype train at full throttle.
Speaking of speculation, let's get to what moved me to write this piece in the first place. Just a few short hours ago (well, like 24 of them), NCSoft posted to LinkedIn that they're looking for a Community Manager. In the oddly double-spaced after each sentence posting (I mean, c'mon, guys...you can't create a listing wanting someone with good grammar and attention to detail if you're putting together a listing that uses a format that isn't acceptable past college), there are a lot of generalities of what is expected for a CM. There's the usual “has been in the gaming industry for almost as long as it's existed” part, but for once, the time requirement isn't too crazy. I once worked at a place that required 20+ years solar industry experience, when the solar industry wasn't even really around for that long at the point. It's good to see a realistic expectation here.
Sure, NCSoft says it would be nice if the person applying for this position does have knowledge of Photoshop and HTML, but that's in the area for “Pluses” or, you know, bonus skills. Also listed is a working knowledge of video editing software. Makes sense. Sometimes CMs will need to put together videos or help Marketing do this. A good CM bridges several departments – marketing, customer support, tech support, etc., in addition to being an advocate for your community. It's never a truly defined role and it's often a thankless job. If something drastically gets changed in game or a patch doesn't get fully passed by QA before going live, you're first on the lines and you'll hear all about it from a very unhappy community. When things are going good, you might get a little praise, but there will still be something someone will find wrong. It's part of the job, so if you find yourself wanting to get into community, it's best to have a thick skin or you won't get very far.
Also in the Pluses section of the job posting is the one little part, randomly thrown in among all of the other qualifications, which makes for good speculation that this just very well could be for Blade & Soul: “Fan of anime and/or manga”. Since the Blade & Soul published by NCSoft is first and foremost an MMO, it completely makes sense that the Requirements section lists that the applicant have a “deep understanding” of MMO culture. However, considering that Blade & Soul also existed as an anime outside of NCSoft, being a fan of all Blade & Soul aspects can only make you better at your job.
When you're passionate about something, and you've managed to turn that passion into a way to also pay rent, you find yourself not just showing up, clocking in, doing your obligatory eight hours, and then clocking out for the night, only to do it all over again the next day. You find yourself jotting down ideas while you're waiting outside of a train stop, waiting for a friend, when you two have dinner plans together. Every moment is seen as an opportunity to come up with a cool idea, and days when news is slow, you find yourself scraping the far reaches of the internet just to have something, anything, to report on.
Overall, I think this is by far one of the best job postings I've seen for a Community Manager. It's realistic in its expectations and it has room for someone to fill the role who can be truly passionate about what he or she is doing, which can lead to finding the ideal candidate. It's great that they're listing needed qualifications and not playing that dumb game of “hey guys, let's list some crazy ass requirements no one can really make and we'll weed out unwanted candidates!” Sure, some people should realize those are in the listing just to weed out people, but why go through the headache and playing games when you can just say what you want, and in return, get what you want?
What do you think? Does the line about added bonus for fans of manga and/or anime mean we might hear something new for Blade & Soul's western port, or am I off my rocker jumping to crazy conclusions? Let me know what ya think!
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