COUNCIL CULTURE
COUNCIL CULTURE
How HI-REZ is tapping into its community for game insights
Philippa Warr

In the summer of 2019 a group of Olympians assembled in Atlanta, Georgia, to discuss development of the god-themed MOBA, Smite. The Olympians were players halfway through their year-long terms as council members, each there to represent player interests across Smite’s multiple modes, platforms, and community niches.

The idea for using player councils originated with Smite’s sibling game Paladins in the run-up to the 2018 Hi-Rez Expo event. The Paladins team were focusing on quality and community, explains brand director Alex Cantatore. Their thinking was, “It would be great to actually just get [the community] involved in the decision-making process and give them early looks at the things that we’re doing and find out if this is something we should be doing.”

There had also been a slight shift in the workforce. “We have some people on staff here that had worked for CCP for a long time,” says Hi-Rez CEO Stew Chisam. “They had some insights into how valuable [player councils] could be.” CCP’s space MMORPG EVE Online has an elected Council of Stellar Management (CSM). The CSM works with devs to improve EVE which is what Chisam is referencing, although in EVE’s specific case the CSM is also an occasional inflection point in massive digital interstellar warfare.

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May 2020