We, as Ambassadors, provide incredible value to our helpees. The work you have done as an Ambassador, even if it is just one chat, has moved someone towards a resolution, and probably improved their day. You’ve almost certainly put a smile on someone’s face, a person you’ve never met and never will, and will do so again through this Program.
The Ambassadors community is perhaps the best corner of the larger Xbox community, where gamers help gamers for little more than the pleasure of doing so. Sure, there are prizes, which somehow keep getting better and better, but it does not take much to get a dedicated Ambassador to start gushing about their favorite chat, that time they were incredibly proud to have solved a tricky problem, or the helpee was unexpectedly grateful.
The Ambassadors are a veritable force for good. But we also remain a rather closed community.
Broken consoles and banned accounts do not generally send happy people towards us. It can cause disillusionment regarding that wider Xbox community. I’ve seen it in my four years here, a sense of “us,” the Ambassadors, and “them,” our helpees. Yet we, too, are part of that wider community, and sometimes we need to earn the title of ‘Ambassador’ by going out into that wider Xbox community, to see that community not only when help is needed but when there are opportunities to play together and engage one another.
To be an Xbox Ambassador is, first and foremost, to be a valuable part of the Xbox community. That is most easily achieved by taking chats or answering forum posts. But that status – valuable community member – can be enhanced by engaging in the wider conversation, participating outside the Ambassador walls.
There are many examples of such places to engage with others, but these are some I would recommend:
- Twitter. Twitter is an obvious place to join that conversation. In 140-character snippets, interact with other players. And with the new Ambassadors on Twitter feature coming now in Season Four, there has never been a better time to get a head start on using Twitter as an Ambassador. If you’re just getting started with Twitter, some key Xbox accounts to follow are Major Nelson and XboxAmbassadors, and if you want to say hi to me, I’m there, too.
- Discord. More recently, Discord has emerged as a place where players hang out and have meaningful discussions around games. Discord is an IM-like platform, where one person can create a ‘server’ and invite others, dividing and organising the conversation into ‘rooms’. Mike Ybarra, Director of Program Management for Xbox, even started a Discord channel for Xbox, where players and Xbox employees alike hang out. You will even find several familiar names, including both Mister Discord and Mister Teal, and many other Ambassadors already talking there.
- Xbox Playdates. Then there are cool little Ambassador-created things like Xbox Playdates, with several national divisions. At least once a week, each country’s division hosts an open playdate on a specified game and streams it. It’s easy to jump into their welcoming game nights. Xbox Playdates Canada will play on Mondays and Wednesdays, while USA plays on Saturdays. There are also divisions for France, Austria, Germany and South Africa, so you should be able to find a group for your time zone, if not your country. And it’s all run by community members who largely met through the Ambassadors Program. Joining them for games is a fantastic way of meeting new people. I’ve linked their Twitter pages, where each country posts its schedules, but they’ve also created a unified Discord server for all Playdates regions.
- XboxGamer. And then there’s something I do, which is contribute to XGM – XboxGamer, a site run by another Alpha Ambassador, Scrtch. We do mostly Xbox-focused news and reviews. We try to cover news and games that Xbox players would care about, but without any platform-preference bias creeping in.
- Weekly Laptime Challenge. XGM is also host to a racing game-centric community challenge. It’s called the Weekly Laptime Challenge and I host it with fellow Alpha Ambassador WPAK– each week (or couple of weeks) we challenge everyone to set the fastest lap on a specific circuit with a particular car. It’s an asynchronous battle for leaderboard supremacy. Instead of everyone meeting up at a specific time, like with Xbox Playdates, here you get a week (sometimes two weeks) to set your fastest lap in your own time, then compare it with the others, which usually leads to some friendly rivalries in the comments or on Twitter. We’ve been mostly focusing on Forza Motorsport 6 for the challenge – the details on Round 12 can be found here– but we are seeing whether we can copy the format in Forza Horizon 3 too.
Ambassadors are a force for good. There is no doubting that. I see immense contributions within the Program, but I also strongly believe that Ambassadors can have a tremendously positive impact on the community by getting more directly involved outside of assists.
Assists are still our lifeblood, and will always be your primary source of XP, but getting more involved will introduce you to new friends you would not have made otherwise, and help spread the word of Ambassadors as an unstoppable force of positive contributions.
Maxen is one of our ten Alpha Ambassadors and a four-year veteran of the Ambassadors Program, who was selected to share his opinion as a Guest Blogger for the Xbox Ambassadors Community Blog. He’s also the newest recruit to the Xbox Forum Moderators team. When not on his console playing Forza or Rocket League, the reigning Laurel Cup champion can usually be found in the Forums or on Twitter, while his other writing – mostly Xbox-centric news and game reviews – can be found on XboxGamer (XGM).