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Great Expectations: In Conclusion

by Sanya Weathers

Over the last four months, we’ve covered quite a bit of the nuts and bolts of expectation management. Community managers can talk endlessly about this topic, but the honest truth is that while the details and the execution may be difficult, the bare bones can be summed up in one single post. Here is that post.

– Don’t talk too soon. “Soon” to the public is “within a few weeks.” If you won’t have anything new to give them within a few weeks of opening your mouth (and “new” can be screenshots, a single concept, a class mechanic, an interview, or even just a new wallpaper), you should not be talking to your community.

– Be specific. Vague details create room for interpretations and wild flights of fantasy. If you create that room, you will eventually have to deal with reining in expectations.

– Say no.

– Plan ahead for disaster and for enormous success. In both cases, you won’t have time to think when you’re in the middle of it all.

– Be realistic. No matter what you do, your product cannot possibly be what a customer imagines it to be in his head. Accept that someone, somewhere, will be disappointed.

– Be honest. Honesty is not only the right thing to do, it’s the simplest thing to do. Who has the time to keep track of multiple evasions and fake deadlines?

– Besides the community manager, limit the number of people talking to the public, and limit what they say to the areas of their specific control.

– Avoid posting to boards, blogs, and social media if it is not in your job description to maintain these ties post-launch.

– Make only the promises that you can keep.

– Make a good game.

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