Hey @Fatshark_Hedge, @FatsharkJulia (and all other CM’s, are there more?), how much of your worktime goes * just * into reading posts? I’m trying to keep up with at least the devposts and some posts who catch my eye on this forum alone and i’m failing at that, although i am here almost everyday at least half an hour. I’m not even bothering with reddit (except some umgak, everyone needs that from time to time) or the steam community. I would feel like after reading a ton i wouldn’t really have anything done, and after reading comes so much more in your job than i probably know of. How is your typical day at work/home office?
Thank you for asking! There’s only Hedge and I in community roles at current, I’m sure this will increase at a later date.
My day varies a lot to Hedge’s day as I’m more Customer Support-oriented. I spend most of my day responding to queries from players who are having problems with Vermintide 2 (which could be anything really) and raising issues our players have reported to development, via our internal database.
Feedback is handled by Hedge and development, it’s not something I’m really involved with as there’s simply not enough hours in the day.
I’ve never really thought about how much reading we do throughout the day. It is a lot, but I think we’ve adapted to a point where we’re almost robotic with it.
As for what my average workday is like… I have multiple bases to cover, with the Support Portal being my priority as we advertise a 24 hour response rate during the week. Hedge chimes in on there occasionally but it’s 99% my responsibility. Unfortunately with that it can be hard to meet the 24 hour response rate when you chuck sickness and the ups and downs of life into the mix but I do my best!
Once I’ve churned through the Support Portal, I’ll usually move on to the Steam ‘Bug Reports’ discussion as it’s surprisingly lively over there, more so than it is here when there’s no active Beta.
Then I’ll move on to the Fatshark Forums (here), prioritising ‘Technical Support’ and then ‘Bugs’ and whatever else. This is all mixed up when there’s an active Beta as that’ll consume much of my resource.
Some days the Support Portal can be so manic that I won’t have time to check any of the other platforms. This is rare but does happen, it entirely depends on the day’s events!
The remainder of the day is spent checking for replies and where time permits I’ll check in on the various boards here, Reddit, Discord and the Steam ‘General’ discussions. I’d like to spend more time on our socials and in the Vermintide 1 channels but there’s not enough hours in the day.
There was no official ‘Customer Support’ at Fatshark previously and I started here shortly after the launch of Vermintide 2, working part-time in the evenings and weekends as back then I was already doing 40 hours a week working as a Software Tester elsewhere! The role was new, the product was new (as were the issues) and the queues were unmanageable, it really was a case of winging it back then so I apologise to anybody who received shoddy support back then. I’m not proud of it.
On a personal level, I hope one day, sooner rather than later, to hire at least one other person to work alongside me. The problem with being the only person in this role is being unable to vacation or switch off from work. Even having a day off sick is daunting because you know your workload will be so much larger the next day, and there’s nobody you can dump your work on to (except Hedge, sometimes).
I haven’t had any proper time off in over a year now but I’m heading out to Vegas in November to recharge my batteries AND GET ABSOLUTELY OBLITERATED!
That’s quite a large answer, thanks
I totally forgot about the support portal…
So you are now fully employed with Fatshark, do i understand that correctly?
I truly can relate, i hope sooner rather than later too!
I’ve never been in the U.S. and certainly not Vegas, but i hope you get what you want there, and have a good time.
Careful in Vegas. Easy to lose lots of money very quickly; set boundaries ahead of time and try to cut yourself off there
This is some really cool insight into your work day. Having done the Helpdesk/Support Queues, I feel for you! Thanks for sharing.
Correct! I was officially hired last year in June, so I’m 100% Fatshark now.
I bet! Although I’m visiting with several others and I like to think I’m the most sensible out of them all so I can imagine I’ll be babysitting some of the adults.
Is she talking about you hedge?
Enjoy your vaction, and good luck at the tables.
Every day starts as follows:
Wake up, grab phone, look for fires.
At this point I’ve barely opened my eyes, but I look through the crusty eye gump and check across everything (Steam, reddit, FSF, Twitter, Facebook, Discord) to see if anything has shat itself over night (think the backend going offline, matchmaking exploding, timed game events malfunctioning etc). If no, papa bless, I can do a quick tour of the news, both gaming news and actual news. If yes, alert appropriate parties and try to cobble messaging together and proceed with crisis management (this involves regular updates internally, and externally where required) until the crisis is managed in the face. (this might take 20 minutes, or a few hours (sometimes over a day, it depends on the flavour of the crisis).
This is super important, within 36 mintues of waking up, a coffee is required. Should 37 minutes pass without the scent of coffee penetrating my nostrils, the world would actually end. True story.
Now, the rest of the day varies hugely depending on what’s going on with the game, and what else is going on within the Shark Tank. These things include, but aren’t limited to (and in no particular order):
Poring over feedback and reporting
That’s right, chewing on feedback. Different feedback is documented in different ways, and ends up on the desks of different people, depending on their area of expertise, and the type of report differs based on what’s useful to the recipient. For some, it could be quite simple, say “about 40% of users who have voiced an opinion believe X to be the case, or Y to be an issue”. It could be that a dev would like to know the communities top 5 beefs with bots. Fairly often, a developer would know but would want the view point of someone who does spend a heck of a lot of time reading all your input as either a sanity check or to find something new they hadn’t seen themselves (the developers do spend heaps of time reading all your posts as well, it’s not just me!)
Regular reporting to management
Similar to the above, but this is usually bigger picture stuff that’s more relevant to the top sharks in the tank. These kinds of report are more meta (in the traditional sense) and usually more forward looking and prospective.
Socialising and supporting
I get a lot of DMs - everywhere. I like to try and keep on top of them every day (although sometimes it’s just not possible and I have to prioritise). Sometimes it can just be too much and you have to realise you can’t be everywhere at all times. I suppose recent times have shown that flaw in the system, but as we grow and expand (which is the plan as a studio) I, like Julia above, can look to grow the team and see further dedication to specific tasks from additional people.
Marketing and social stuff
When I started out here in Fatshark I was the Community and Social Media guy but it quickly became apparent to me that I could only really dedicate to one and support the other, a problem which has since been solved with an expansion and evolution of the Marketing Team (which I am a part of). I used to be more involved with marketing duties, and during the summer of 2017 I believe it was, I did cover for our marketing coordinator at the time, whilst also juggling my community and social stuff, and I almost combusted. That was a big summer. Hasn’t happened since. I think I found my first grey then.
There are times where Julia just can’t single handedly keep the support queue at bay - imagine during and post launch where 40,000 people are playing your game and things are in a less than ideal state (being honest here!) and you’re solo on the front lines, trying to troubleshoot, identify the difference between a users issue and an issue with the game (it can be deceptive at times when reading logs to know if an issue is born of a player’s environment or because the game’s got some funk in it). At this point, my priority becomes to support support, and help to get people back in the game.
Preparing release notes for upcoming releases
When a dev commits a change to the internal version of the game (let’s call that trunk), be it a fix, tweak, change, feature etc, they will send that change in to the trunk and add a note, like “Fixed BUG-24645” (which isn’t very helpful!) or “nurgle: fixed navmesh issue, nav/path/smart obj/patrols update” which is quite complicated for a patch note. Each of these notes needs translation in to something that makes sense to an end user. This has to be done for each and every revision, so there’s some back and forth between myself and either QA (they sometimes send devs changes to the trunk, so I need to ask them who’s change it was so I can find my way back to the source if I need clarification), or the dev if they sent in the change themselves. Some devs do in fact write the note for me (@fatshark_sebgra don’t think I don’t love you for this, because I do <3) and I would carry a bike frame across Europe for them.
I could probably go on for hours but that’s the bulk of it.
Do I love what I do? Absolutely. When things go right, it’s the perfect job. When things go wrong, I genuinely feel from the experience and treat it as a learning opportunity and do my best to improve myself and the studio for the future.
Damn. I gotta say, it sure is a wacky life if every day manages to include crusty eye gump, managing things in the face, and the world ending something something penetrating nostrils in some capacity. I doubt many others can attest to the same.
Thank you so much for your insightful answers! Your days seem super busy and sometimes super stressful, but we totally appreciate what you do! Thank you!
Wow, thanks (again) to both of you. Those were really in-depth answers, more than i could wish for. I hope this shows the rest of the community how hard your days are and that you are still human beings, and who should be treated as such.
That being part of my intention (and genuine curiosity and interest), i think you drew a clear picture, and i can only second @Exanimia:
Hello! I’m one of the famous Fatshark lurkers. Some of you have met me before through the Vermintide discord. Usually, I post in the news, answer some random questions or jump in to update you about the game. I’m not at all near a full-time community manager or working with support but I love keeping up with you guys. Can’t tell you much about my typical day, but I can try and outline it for you!
Note: Julia and Hedge are true good human beans, and I work with them both almost daily. Also, I am one of those people who took over the marketing and Social Media from Hedge.
I start with a very early arrival at the office, I like being early and I like the quiet hours. Coffee and breakfast are a must. I start by checking on my immediate tasks, what needs to be done? Anything urgent? Any change in priorities? By the time this is done my coffee is drinkable and I spend 20 min ~ish on Reddit, the forums, discord, social media and general game news. I answer to some things and take note on what might need a closer look later.
The rest of the day I bounce between a lot of different tasks that are both big and small, have meetings and talk to a lot of the people around the office. In between my tasks I take a couple of minutes here and there with a cup of coffee to pick up where I left off in my lurking.
I know there are far more than me at the office who enjoy lurking as they sip their coffee during a break, lunch or when there’s time to. Always enjoy reading and checking in on what you, our community, are doing and what the latest UMGAK is.
To end on a very personal note: I love my job a lot, and I want to stay here for a very long time. This community makes me want to continue to do a better job every day. One of my best memories is from when we released ‘Bardin’s Songbook’ that I helped out with, and I hope to continue to be able to make more of these things in the future together with the other sharks.
Why not make a short video of your office? It would be nice. Not much details. Only a little view of your space work.