Today we learned that Linda “Brasse” Carlson has been let go as head of the community management team for the company formerly known as Sony Online Entertainment.
According to the post over at EQ2 Wire, she has been part of the community team at SOE for six years at this point, though it hardly seems like that much time could have passed. It seems like only recently that her map of the Old Forest in Lord of the Rings Online, posted up on her site, was saving my ass from being completely lost. But that must have been years ago at this point, as the game has had a built in map for that zone for a while now.
Anyway, her maps made their way into a number of official guides for Dark Age of Camelot, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, and of course, EverQuest and EverQuest II, in addition to all those LOTRO maps that have helped me over the years. (I used her hedge maze map last time I was playing in Middle-earth. Still worth its weight in pixels.)
So she has had an impact on the community, both before as well as during her tenure.
A community team, by its very nature, can become the public face of a company. So a departure of a prominent member of the community team can alter the relationship people have with a company. I remember no small amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth (and a bit of cheering) when Greg Street, Ghostcrawler, announced he was leaving Blizzard. That changed the community dynamic. The same could be said for the departure of Rick “Sapience” Heaton from the LOTRO team. Whether the change was good or bad is subjective, but things changed.
Things were different when Alan “Brenlo” Crosby was running the community team for SOE, things will be different when the next person steps up to run it under the Daybreak banner. How different and how it will affect people… well, we shall see.
The real surprise here is how soon this move came. I know there had been some doom and gloom regarding the whole acquisition, from myself included. Bad news was expected by many. But Daybreak Gaming Company doesn’t even have a new logo yet (though they were quick to pull down the old one), but already they are letting people go from jobs that I think are unlikely to be considered redundant. Then again, they don’t need anybody running the SOE Live event this year, since that has been cancelled. Maybe Smed, who has been out in the front lines engaging with the community… at least on Reddit, the new official SOE community home… will be the sole face of the company for now. We will see how secure his job is.
Anyway, I hope Brasse will find another job waiting for her.
Somebody out there must need a proper dwarf.
Addendum: It wasn’t just Brasse. I wrote a post about her just in time for more bad news to seep out. Dave Georgeson is out as well and there are reports of more people being given their pink slip today. Good luck to all those affected.
Follow up: MMORPG.com has a list of those laid off posted.