…as an ordinary player, the question I find myself asking is: How do I end up on a Realm with good community?
Is there anything that ordinary players can do to build good community on Realm?
These quotations are both shamelessly plundered from an interesting email discussion I had recently with someone and I promised to visit the topic and see if I had anything useful to say about it.
I believe that a small number of players can help to shape how a community develops, large groups perhaps moreso, but it doesn’t take too much to help establish a tone. More than that, I think we each have an individual and group responsibility to help make the server a place we want to play on.
First of all, everyone should want a good server community. There’s really no downside to it at all. And no, it can’t be clearly defined.. but it will probably include:
- non-nasty answers to questions/requests for help
- amusing trash talk about PvP, not straying into hurtful
- guilds that cooperate for the realm’s good
- a healthy forum/chat area where events/raids/whatever can be planned
Community building is one of those things that companies and games talk about a lot. It’s quite a skill. Mythic and GOA have gone the path of not having official forums, so communities won’t form at the direct official hubs – I fully support this idea as I’ve already said. It encourages satellite sites with individual personalities to form and for like-minded players to convene at whichever site/forum suits them best. That fosters community. The fact that news and polls are spread out throughout the community sites encourages us to visit more of them and to see which matches our mindset the closest. So we have a ton of forums, fansites and blogs already.
Now, there’s nowhere yet with realm forums, because we don’t know the realm names. That makes sense. You can bet that the biggest forum sites will include realm ones as soon as they are known. And possibly there will be some more independent realm sites set up. I know Prydwen, my old DAoC realm had a RP forum, quite separate from the one that became semi-official over at Freddyshouse. The same’s happened with LotRO – there’s at least one independent server forum and then the official one at Codemasters. Realm forums are often underused by a majority of players, but they do enable those interested to get to know one another outside of the game, discuss raids, and generally it’s good for community. So I’m thinking one way you can get involved as a individual is to seek out a realm forum or two, follow them a little (it doesn’t have to take away from gaming time), and help them develop. Post requests for groups, ideas for events, just answer other posts – you will be helping.
Online, and in-game, yes, the big guilds will be there. Trash talk will exist. You will be told you’re stupid at one point or other. We all are. But, how can you help a nascent community if you don’t have a big guild around you, or a famous site to expound your thoughts on your server (for the record, I’m still cagey about releasing where I’d play, and I don’t really think of this blog as famous or influential at all!).
- you answer people politely, but without becoming the server police
- take part in public quests, meet new people
- when/if you join a guild consider running events/raids/quests – it makes a name for the guild and it helps the community – plus, you may also find some shining new recruits!
- consider the ‘pay it forward’ concept – and remember behind every avatar is a real human (unless they’re playing Chaos in which case, chop ’em up)
- play for your own good and the good of the realm
The last point returns us to Warhammer Online specifically and what the game does to help foster a community. If you’ve only done PvP on WoW or LotRO or anywhere else without the concept of the realm vs realm fight, then prepare for a different slant on PvP. You’re not just fighting to score some points and get some decent gear here, you’re fighting to save your realm from the harshest of fates, from your sworn enemy gaining control of your lands, your keeps, your Capital City. RvR should bring a realm together with a common aim. Public quests help players get to know one another outside of guids, friends groups and solo questing.
That’s my thoughts on it, and I’m sure others out there have more to add to the discussion, which I hope they will. I do believe in personal responsibility in gaming, however fun it is to ride the wave, there’s another sense of fun to be had in organising groups and seeing others enjoy or react to your willingness to help.
ps. if you do happen to find yourself being the main mover on a server or realm forum, or if you’re part of that big guild, or run a massive site that gives you influence, don’t be snotty about it.