Destiny 2 former community manager Dylan ‘dmg04’ Gafner recently departed the company after spending seven years helping build the FPS game‘s in-house community team. Gafner’s influence, leadership, and penchant for bread memes helped shape that team into one of the most respected in the industry, earning the respect of peers and players alike.
In a recent interview with Forbes writer Paul Tassi, known for his extensive coverage of Destiny 2, Gafner shares some insights regarding his time with Bungie. As part of the Q&A, Gafner details how community team members at companies that take a public stance on equality issues are likely to face harassment during their tenure. He advises game studios to invest in protections for their employees, allowing people to step away when necessary.
Gafner also offers several tips on how gamers can provide genuinely helpful feedback to developers, distinguishing it from unhelpful feedback. He notes the least valuable feedback is that which gets personal, such as insults or calls for team members to get fired.
“It takes focus off the game, puts focus on the person giving the feedback,” he says.
In terms of helpful feedback, he recommends that any presented suggestion or player-proposed solution to an in-game issue should also contain information on why that change is necessary in the first place.
He cites a scenario in which a player suggested that Destiny 2 needs a shorter round time but offered no explanation as to why that’s a proper fix. Gafner says the timer could be one issue, but notes the core issue could be mechanics that aren’t enjoyable.
He also notes the development difficulty of implementing many changes, as sometimes even simple changes can have cascading effects throughout other aspects of the game. A fix that seems simple can be much more complicated due to the underlying architecture. As a case in point, Gafner recently weighed in on why Destiny 2 sparrow speeds won’t be getting faster anytime soon.
These are all great lessons for gamers of all backgrounds, whether they’re facing technical issues as solo players or are addressing conflict in multiplayer games that can lend themselves to toxic behaviours.
Ultimately, even without Gafner, Bungie appears committed to retaining a top-tier community and community management program. Gafner was a part of the team that won the Game Awards honour for Best Community Support in 2019, and game industry professionals continue to look toward Bungie as a model of excellence in community management.
Gafner does not say where he’s planning to go next. However, his influence will continue to shine at Bungie until well after the Destiny 2 Lightfall release date, which will also introduce the Destiny 2 Strand subclass, taking place in just a couple of months.