interview with kenny wan

developer and designer at DAGGR

by eb staff

DAGGR is a slick social networking site for queer gamers, and most of the EB staff are users. The site has a unique culture wherein users cluster around certain games and genres. There's also the possibility to "ping" the community with the status of what game you're currently playing, so that the community can find you and discuss the game. We wanted to know more about the site and it's founders, so we sent some questions to Kenny Wan, who is the designer and developer behind the enterprise.

We at electro bureau are huge fans of DAGGR. How did the team behind it come to know each other, and what’s your role on the team?

We are a very small crew! I am the designer and developer; Mark is the community manager. He's also my real life partner -- we met about 6 years ago, through the mutual love of Sim City!

Do you have a regular group of people that you play games with? How did you meet?

I have a few buddies on DAGGR I've known for many years, some since high school! Once a gamer, always a gamer!

Did you connect with other LGBTQ gamers prior to DAGGR? How did you do so (blog, message board, steam groups, etc)?

Not really — it's one of the reasons we created DAGGR, there just wasn't one good place that gamers in our community could connect!

DAGGR seems more like a collection of “micro communities” that revolve around specific tags (such as a favorite game or console). Why did you take that approach instead of making a single, central social network?

We wanted to make updates relevant and create a focus on games and the gamers playing them. DAGGR is, and always will be about games and the gamers. There has been some feedback about this tagging method, so we are exploring ways to allow members to create posts and topics on DAGGR, that aren’t specifically related to games in the future.

You list Final Fantasy XIV as your favorite game, and it seems to be very popular with members of the site. Why do you think it resonates so strongly with gaymers?

It’s a well polished game. The community is more mature and forgiving, you can play at your own pace, and the players just seem to want to have fun.

What other MMO’s have you played? What draws you to the genre?

I used to play World of Warcraft. Have tried many others, including Lord of the Rings Online, The Secret World, EVE Online, AION and ArcheAge. Only XIV:ARR has kept my interest lately though.

I like being immersed in different virtual worlds and environments, exploring them, hanging out in the cities, working on my professions, fighting monsters with the entire server and leading an adventurer’s life without worries!

What role do you play in your party in FF XIV (tank, buffer, ranged fighter, etc)? Do you typically play this role in multiplayer RPGs?

My role is usually a healer, I enjoy keeping those green health bars filled right up!

Tell us about one of your best memories of being in an MMO party. How did the dynamics of the party make it special?

Probably the most memorable for me is the first raid I ever attempted. It was Ulduar in Wrath of the Lich King (World of Warcraft). We wiped on the first boss, Flame Leviathan... but it was a great, memorable experience. There are so many other memories since then to mention. That's also one of the reasons why we created DAGGR, to serve as a place to journal and remember all those epic wins, or tragic losses!

What’s the biggest achievement that your party has pulled off in an MMO?

I never had time to become a hardcore raider, so I can only share a personal achievement. There is a weekly fishing tournament in World of Warcraft called the 'Stranglethorn Extravaganza Contest'. It took me months, but I managed to win it by collecting 40 of those damn Speckled Tastyfish and handing them in before the entire server that night. It was before the nerf too, as now it seems there are 3 winners instead of just 1. I got my title, ‘Salty'.

My love for fishing in the game died right after that though. I think that's a danger of an MMO, it can burn you out if you're not careful.

The Final Fantasy series as a whole seems very popular on DAGGR. Why do you think that the Final Fantasy series (and JRPG’s in general) are so popular with gaymers?

I guess it's one of the main franchises and genres that our generation of gamers grew up with. I can only speak for myself, but when I play an RPG, it provides an escape from reality, I'm a big dreamer!

With the Final Fantasy series, perhaps it’s the characters, the lore, worlds, and music — I love the music. It will be interesting to see where the franchise and genre goes in the future and I hope it continues to be successful.

What’s your favorite entry in the franchise, and what’s your favorite party to use in it?

I'm still working on IX at the moment. The party consists of Zidane, Vivi, Quina & Dagger. When I finish IX, I'm pretty certain it will replace XIV as my favorite game!

What’s next for DAGGR? Can you tell us about any upcoming features?

Much of the focus over the coming year is to make everything feel better and add quality of life improvements. Our roadmap is long and we try to do as much as we can with the resources we've got. We'll be adding some new features to help you connect better, and perhaps a refresh and re-alignment of the design for our one-year anniversary.

We'd like to continue developing and promoting DAGGR over the long term so we can attract even more gamers to join us. Look forward to a mobile app, too! We're open to feedback on functionality and improvements so let us know how we could make DAGGR better for you.

Stick around, we're here to stay!