As many of you may know, it was recently announced that Leala Ulrich (Leesha Darkheart from Ravenwood Radio) is Kingsisle’s newest Community Manager for both Wizard101 and Pirate101! With Kiersten Samwell transitioning into game designer, she has passed down the iconic role of Professor Greyrose to Leala! Leala now gets to interact with the community in a way she never has before, and has Tom Purdue (The Friendly Necromancer) as her trusty sidekick! In light of this new and exciting change, we thought it would be a great opportunity to conduct an interview with her!
How did you find Wizard101 and what about it made you so attracted to it?
I started playing Wizard101 in September 2009, after my husband introduced me to the game. He insisted to me that it wasn’t like other kid’s games and that I’d love it, but I was skeptical and held off for a while. Once I got a look at the first mounts that were being added to the game (namely the tiger mount), I had to try it out! The combat was so different than the other MMOs I’d played, the voice acting and story were so lively and the world so whimsical and fun! I was hooked and the rest, as they say, is history.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Wizard101? Pirate101?
I really enjoy questing and combat in both games, so most of my time is spent with those as the focus. Lately however I’ve been dabbling with housing and some of the side activities in Wizard101, like Fishing and Gardening. I recently moved into the Red Barn Farm house in Wizard101 so it seemed like a perfect time to plant a small garden again. And I just got my first house in Pirate101, so I’ve been spending some time decorating and making an elaborate habitrail with pieces from the new Grizzly Beast Pack.
Do you have an NPC in either Pirate101 or Wizard101 that is your favorite or one that you can strongly relate to?
As a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, I love Sherlock Bones and Meowiarty. That was one of my favorite storylines in Marleybone in Wizard101. In Pirate101, since I’ve taken on the moniker of Bonnie Anne on the forums, I have a great fondness for her as well.
Which world do you enjoy the most in Wizard101? Pirate101?
As you might guess, I love Marleybone in Wizard101. I’m still new in my Pirate’s journey, but I cannot wait to see Marleybone in Pirate101 as well!
How and when did you find out you were to be Kingsisle’s newest Community Manager? What was your reaction?
The interview process at KingsIsle took some time and a bit of waiting, so I was very nervous. But when I finally got THAT email, I almost went through the roof. The first thing I did was call my husband and say “Guess what? I work at Kingsisle now?” It felt weird to say, and still does sometimes. I’m so happy to be here!
What kind of responsibilities do you have as a Community Manager?
As Associate Community Manager, my primary responsibilities are looking after the forums for both Wizard101 and Pirate101, answering questions and passing along ideas and concerns from players. I also work on update notes, blogs, newsletters, answer community emails, help our fansite owners and host contests. I had a lot of fun going through all the entries for the Pirate101 Arrrgust Design Your Own Eyepatch contest as one of my first big projects.
Do you think being involved in Ravenwood Radio has helped you in your tasks of being a Community Manager? If so, how?
Having been part of Ravenwood Radio greatly helps in my role as Associate Community Manager. Since I was already a player of KingsIsle games, I understand the point of view of our players, because I am one! And since I’ve helped run a fan site, I can relate to our awesome fan site owners and recognize community leaders.
What’s your favorite part about being a Community Manager?
My favorite parts of community management are helping people and getting to share in the excitement of players. When new events or updates come to the games, getting to watch the reaction from the inside as players discover new things is a joy!
Do you have any advice for people who want to try to get a job in the gaming industry?
I think the important thing to remember about getting a job in the game industry is that just loving games isn’t enough. Lots of people love to play games. You’ve got to be persistent and willing to do the work to create something unique to stand out. If you are interested in community management, running your own website or forum community is great practice. If you are interested in game design, now is the best time to get started creating something on your own. There are inexpensive (or free) programs out there like RPG Maker, Construct 2 or Twine (only to name a few) that allow you to make games with little to no programming knowledge.
Most importantly, what is it like working with Tom (The Friendly Necromancer)?
Tom is a great person to work with every day. He’s unfailingly patient, funny and has a wealth of knowledge about both games. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in crime (or community management)!
Thank you for the wonderful interview, Leala!