Interview with Dominik Schönleben (NIANTIC Community Manager EMEA)

At the anomaly in Warsaw we had the opportunity to do an Interview with the new Community Manager EMEA:

RGNN: Hello Dominik. Thanks for taking the time for this short interview. We start with a question, which most players are familiar with. Does your Agent name has a special meaning – and if yes, what?
The meaning of my alias Nerdmeetsyou can be taken quiet literally: I am a Nerd and like to meet people to talk with them about nerd topics.

When did you start playing Ingress and how did you come to find the game? In which city do you usually play?
I created my Ingress account after the launch of Pokémon GO. My girlfriend had played it before and showed me the basics.

What’s your funniest and/or weirdest experience when playing Ingress?

Nothing worth mentioning here. But I am looking forward to hear the stories of fellow Agents when meeting them at Mission Days or Anomalies.

What are your expectations as new community manager for EMEA? What are your plans?
I want to help to make Ingress more welcoming to new players. Especially now as the launch of Ingress Prime is approaching. I think this is a good opportunity to think about this.

What is the ratio of work for Ingress vs. the work for PokémonGo as a community manager?
Hard to say, as I have just started. I think, this will be something that I have to figure out in the next few weeks and months. But both communities are important to me and I don’t want to neglect either.

What is the most interesting part of your job and what is the most challenging part?
As I have mainly played Pokémon GO in the past, it is still a challenge for me to understand Ingress in all its nuances. There is still much that I can learn from other Agents out there.

Will you attend more anomalies and Mission Days in the future? If yes, as a normal player or in your role as community manager?
For sure! I will be for example in August at the Anomaly in Linz. Also I’m planning to attend Mission Days or other Local Meetups, if possible for my schedule. You can always approach me with your concerns.

Are there any places you are looking forward to visit while working for Niantic?
Yes, I’m actually looking forward to visit my home city Munich more often. Then I can combine two things I love: augmented reality gaming and meeting my family.

Agents in Africa and the Middle East feel a bit neglected since they don’t have that much Ingress events. Are there any plans to expand activities to those areas? How can active communities engage to get events to their areas?
This is a good question, that we at NIA are asking ourselves at the moment. In September we are hosting a Mission Day in South Afrika. Until now 57 Agents have registered. This is great, but we are hoping for more. After this event we will have a closer look, how we can better support the community in Afrika. Things are quite similar with the Middle East.

In the early years of Ingress there have been kind of “Meet & Greet-Events” where community managers visited local events and get togethers to have an ear to the street. Any plans on revitalizing that?
My colleagues Ethan and Andrew have just made a tour through Europe, Asia and Australia to talk with Agents. I can imagine going on a similar trip, once we have gotten Ingress Prime out. Just invite me, if you want me to visit – and I’ll try to make it happen.

Are you looking forward to work with both event managers for EMEA and what are your expectations?
There is only one event manager for Ingress in EMEA. And I’m already excited to support Lizzy when planning the next Mission Days and Anomalies. What I expect? Your Feedback on how we can make the game better. Just approach me at an event, if you have something on your mind.

How will your collaboration with other community managers be like? Do you share your ideas and experiences before asking NIA-Ops?
I’m always in close connection with our APAC Community Manager Fumi and Andrew our Global Community Manager. It is good to know if Agents from other parts of the world have the same requests. I have a connection to NIA OPS, but it is mostly to escalate issues to them. NIA OPS adjudicates all of the player issues. I do share things with the entire team though.

Do you have a favourite Badge? Which would best characterize you?
Recruiter. I haven’t made any progress on this medal now. But when we launch Ingress Prime I will try to get all my friends on board.

Imagine you could add a new feature to Ingress. What would that be?
I personally like all features, which encourage players to play together. How this could work? Puh, I would rather leave that to our skillful game designers.

Do you expect many new players with the start of Ingress Prime?
Yes. And I’m confident, that they will stay on board because of our reworked tutorial, that will give them a good understanding of the game from the beginning.

Last question: What advice would you give to new players?
Try to connect with other players fast. Life as an Agent is just more fun together!




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