People at Gameforge - Tobias / Community Manager

Introduce yourself: What do you do at Gameforge and how long have you been part of the Gameforge team?

I’m Tobias and I’ve been a Community Manager at Gameforge for 10 years. As what we call internally a ‘CoMa’, I am the direct point of contact to our customers and I manage our voluntary teamlers, who are then the primary interaction point with the players.

Describe your typical working day.

First I get myself a coffee. Then I check my mails and the forums, our main communications platforms. Every CoMa has a different amount of communities and correspondingly, many forums to check on. In my case I have 8 forums that I check to see what the current key topics are. In the meanwhile I work through emails and work assignments. Afterwards I have time for reports, announcements or patch notes. Then I attend various meetings.
There are Community Managers and also Product Community Managers. The latter are responsible for the community of an entire game. They gather reports and feedback, which they then evaluate. I am responsible for Metin2 and Ikariam. I have to gain a perspective on the games from the community’s point of view and then give the Product Manager or the Game Designer recommendations. This is the best part of my job: for one game you have a little bit of everything. You need to talk with customers, solve problems with developers or think of appropriate measures to take to combat bad behaviour by a player. The Product Community Manager is usually the one most able to decipher what the players truly want and which decisions will help achieve this.

What are your three most common tasks at work?

Firstly the summarising of community feedback and the community managers. Secondly is managing the teamler. There you need to be an adjudicator, psychologist, best friend and boss. The third task is plenty of writing. For example, if you block a player, you need to also document it to then be able to answer any eventual questions on it.

What is the most enjoyable thing about being a Community Manager?

As lame as it might sound, it has to be the variety. Along with that, the interaction with people, whether it be my teamlers, my colleagues here in Karlsruhe or my users across the world. There’s something new every day and you can never really predict how your day is going to pan out.

What makes you and your position indispensable for Gameforge?

In my opinion, the experience I have. I’ve been at this job for a good while now. Even before my time at Gameforge, I was working in a customer interaction setting and I had to get through my fair share of difficult situations. It is this sort of experience that makes me perhaps not indispensable, but certainly valuable.

What made you decide to become a Community Manager?

I started my time as a gamer about 13 years ago. Back then, my first game was OGame. More Gameforge games followed and at some point I thought ‘the actions and activities of these people with the special ranks in the forum seem to do some pretty interesting stuff, like hosting forum contests or answering questions’. Once you have played a game long enough, you can even answer a lot of the questions yourself. That’s how you become a teamler. I was then, each for a year, a Moderator, Super Moderator, Forum Admin and then Game Admin. The former Community Manager told me that Gameforge was looking for staff. That there was even a job as Community Manager was not completely clear to me back then. I applied, gave my best in my interview, and then received a call later to say that I had been accepted.

Which three words describe the collaboration in your team?

Flexibility, teamwork and adaptability. Of the three, teamwork is the most important. Alone you get nothing done in Community Management. There are simply too many communities and too many users, each with their own individual problems. If you didn’t have your teamlers and your colleagues, you’d likely go mad very quickly.

What qualities does an applicant need to have to be successful in your department, both in terms of the job and in terms of the team?

The personal side of this is easy: don’t try to disguise who you are and don’t try to change who you are to fit in. My tip: be yourself and the rest takes care of itself. The only other thing you need to bring is patience in spades. A certain level of knowledge is definitely helpful, as some players can get irritated when things don’t work like they should in the game. You also have to remain professional at all times, i.e. calm and objective, much as with any other customer-facing position. Also important is flexibility and adaptability as well as enjoying the challenge of facing something new every day.

In your opinion, what makes Gameforge special as an employer?

Gameforge is relaxed and has flat hierarchies. Naturally I have bosses. But it isn’t that my every step is handed down to me. As a Community Manager, I can solve problems in 300 different ways. Gameforge also looks after its employees. It’s for this reason that I’ve been here for over 10 years now. For me it has the perfect mixture of family and company. We may not all be friends, I only have to be able to work with everyone well and professionally. When the going gets tough however, at Gameforge you’ll always find somebody around the corner who is ready to help you, to talk to you about your problems and to help you find a solution. That’s really cool! That aside, there’s also free lunch, drinks, coffee and sandwiches; you can get massages too. These small details show that this is a place that really cares about the staff. There are so many things that belong here that make the difference for me.

What do you wish for Gameforge’s future?

Another 30 years with me. I truly believe that things are going really well for Gameforge right now and I hope that it continues so.

What games are you privately interested in most?

It can vary a lot. At the very start of my gaming career it was shoot’em ups as they were totally in at the time. Then I quickly switched over to real-time strategy games. With the arrival of MMORPGs, I then loved them, World of Warcraft and such games. MMORPGs and economy simulators are now the ones that have remained. Straight-forward hack ‘n slash games are also fun.

And now for an inside story. What is your personal highlight at Gameforge?

It absolutely has to be our first company holiday to Spain. I had only been at the company a short time and it truly was a ‘wow’ moment for me. We rented out the complete Robinson Club, complete with beach and pool. That was when I thought: this could well be a good choice for a company to be a part of. That aside, there’s been loads of smaller ‘wow’ moments. There has also been few days where I have gotten up and not felt like working. My boss has to remind me to take holiday days!

Why do you like working in Karlsruhe and what’s your favourite location here?

I love working in Karlsruhe because the office is here. It actually wasn’t really a concern of mine as to where Gameforge is based. My only concern back then was the company. Today, I can say that Karlsruhe has a good share of nice spots, like the palace grounds and gardens, for example. I generally prefer to have fields and nature around me however, so I live a little outside of Karlsruhe.

What are you interested in outside of work?

Outside of work I love to go for walks, which is partly why I love nature so much. I also love photography, a lot. On top of this, I also like to listen to music frequently. I even used to make music. My guitar is still sat in a corner somewhere and every few thousand years I dust it down and jam a little. I also like to visit zoos with my wife and look at the animals. It is calming and relaxing: a contrast to my working day.

What do you still want to achieve in life?

I can actually say that I have already achieved my absolute must-haves for life: to find my peace and settle down somewhere. I have a dear wife, work is good and everything is OK. I also would like to go on a grand trip. It doesn’t need to be some kind of round-the-world in 2 day monster trip. But I’d love to see Canada or the USA. Or perhaps something exotic, a country past Russia.

Imagine Gameforge were a party. What would your responsibilities be before, during and/or after the party?

I’m truly a jack-of-all-trades. I have done quite a variety of things in my life already: stacking shelves in a supermarket, X-raying patients and managing communities. I was also a teacher at one point. In all of these jobs I picked up a talent for organisation. Prior to the party I could help with the organising and I would ensure that all drinks are present and that everything is in order. I’ve also privately run a web radio station and done some DJing. That would certainly help at a party. After the party, I’d hope to be out of there before the clean-up starts! (laughs)

On a scale of 1 to 10 – how crazy are you?

13 – in this company it kind of goes with the territory. You need a little kookiness just to fit in and get by. Being odd is a good thing!


People at Gameforge

Do you want to learn more about us and working at Gameforge?
Head to our overview and get to know us and our day-to-day work.

Employee Overview >>

Get Yourself in the Game

Want to be a part of our team?
For information on our open positions, feel free to take a look at our career page.

Career Overview >>