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EA Community Manager Expresses Frustration With Madden NFL Development

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Every weekday, Madden Community Manager, Israel “Kraelo” Cruz hosts ‘Good Morning Madden’ on the official Madden twitch channel. The 30 minute shows offers a way for the Madden development team to connect with the Madden community. Each day, players could come learn about changes coming to Madden 21, or have questions answered by the community team. This morning’s GMM started like most, leading with a few giveaways and talking about current issues with importing Franchises. However, the community manager shared his frustration with the company’s transparency about Madden 21 today.

Frustration From the Madden Community Manager

“It’s my goal to give you guys as much information that I have available,” Kraelo said at the beginning of today’s GMM. “When I don’t have that information it does put a strain on me in communicating with you guys.” Being a community manager means a lot of things. Most importantly, you serve as the link between a company and its player base. Community Managers are an important role in giving information to the community you want to cultivate. In order to be transparent with a community, though, you need to have information.

Kraelo expressed some of his frustration earlier this week on another episode of GMM. “I feel like a glorified customer care agent,” he shared in a sentiment that’s been clipped from Twitch and shared on twitter. “I can’t fix a lot of the issues that happen in our game… just because it’s my job doesn’t mean that I can’t feel that frustration for our players.” He expressed concerns that sometimes the community team is, in other terms, thrown under the bus.

Today’s ‘Good Morning Madden’ addressed two major topics. Firstly, the price of Madden Ultimate Team packs had gone up over Thanksgiving weekend. Secondly, some players and streamers were not getting Twitch drops. Kraelo revealed he learned about the MUT pack prices at the same time the community did. “I spent my Thanksgiving break reaching out to various business leaders to understand why this was done over the holiday break,” Kraelo said about the price increase. Despite repeated attempts over the break, Kraelo was unable to get an official statement from EA about the increase.

The Madden community manager continued to share his frustration during the topic of Twitch drops. EA published an EA Help article in November about how to receive Twitch drops from watching Madden Live streams. Some players have not been receiving these drops. EA recommends player unlink and relink their Twitch or Prime Gaming and EA Accounts, but this doesn’t always work. Kraelo is aware of this, but in his position he can only do so much.

“The Human Act of Decency”

The community manager addressed the toxic aspects of the Madden community as well. At one point during the show, Kraelo made an appeal for kindness when talking to public-facing employees. “It’s easy to take shots at people that you don’t know, and it’s easy to take shots at people that are working very hard and putting their face with their name out there.” Madden 21 drew a lot of attention from fans online this year. That attention can often become toxic, like when EA producer, Erika Esola-Imburgio, had to lock her personal twitter account due to receiving personal threats in August. “All I’m asking is for,” Kraelo says about contacting EA Help, “just the human act of decency when you reach out to people.”

Some of this message, at least, left an impact on the Madden fanbase. Both “Agent K” (the community’s nickname for Kraelo) and the hashtag #StandwithKraelo trended worldwide on Twitter today. Madden players tweeted in support of Kraelo and his impact on the Madden community.

The Fate of Agent K

Kraelo started today’s ‘Good Morning Madden’ with an earnest statement about his future on it. “I’m doing something very unusual here,” he said live on today’s show, “I don’t, you know, I’m not saying I’m gonna get in trouble. I don’t know what’s gonna happen.” Later, he apologizes to his manager, if they’re watching. “I may not be the best fit for this show going forward,” he says, before giving away more MUT rewards to viewers. Indeed, Kraelo confirmed this evening that he will be taking a break from hosting GMM, but will continue to host in the future

If the result of today’s GMM is that Kraelo loses his job, it’ll be shame, because it sounds like they’ll be losing a pretty genuine guy. I appreciate this community so much,” Kraelo says thoughtfully, while musing about what might happen next for him after today’s broadcast. I appreciate that you guys stick with this game because you love this game.”

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