Il faut cultiver notre jardin

…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.


5 Responses

  1. I think the best part of MMO’s is to help others and always have a wonderful aditude all the time. I smile everytime I play, if I stop smiling I log off for the day. The WAR community is by far one of the best I have read about. We are all so excite for the day we can play together or against, that we smile. I hope it stays that way. When the game is released and we don’t like some part of it, let’s try to fix it not whine about it. This is a great community of gamers and that is what is going to make WAR the best game ever.

  2. The community is great at the moment, and although I’d love to wrong, I fear there will be an inevitable degradation as launch approaches.

    If worse really does come to worst, the guild alliance system should hopefully allow like minded guilds to band together and create positive communities away from the cesspool.

  3. Nice use of the subjunctive 🙂

  4. Great post. I think this is an important topic for the community to think about as the game nears launch. Thanks a lot for posting your thoughts.

    Having a “good-community” is always something a bit nebulous, but I like your four-point definition:
    * 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

    One thing that I think some players miss is that having a strong, positive, and welcoming community is ultimately all about winning. If some noob asks a stupid question, and he gets flamed for his noob-ishness, then he’s likely to re-roll on another realm … which is one less player available to help defend your keeps.

    Players who feel welcomed into a realm-community, who get group-invites from strangers when doing public quests, or open-world RvR, who find it easy to get involved in scheduled sieges, and other events won’t re-roll. Obviously, I don’t have hard data to back up these theories, but I think that six-months from release, realms with strong communities won’t find themselves outnumbered with their backs against the gates of a besieged capitol.

    One last note, I know that most people find it frustrating to jump into an instanced scenario (or an open-world conflict or a challenging high-level PQ) and realize that everyone else on your team is a un-skilled noob who doesn’t understand the basics of PvP (or group PvE) tactics. I know a natural response to this problem is to decide that you’re only going to do group conflict with an organized group of friends or guildmates that you know you can trust.

    However, in the long run, the better answer is to go out of your way to embrace anyone who’s willing to learn. People who make it to high level without understanding group tactics are generally those who solo’ed their way through the game (not that there’s anything wrong with solo’ing in moderation). So, when you see someone who’s soling in a PQ area or an RvR zone, toss them an invite … or better yet write down their name. Then the next time you’re going to do some group content send them a tell: “Hey, some friends and I were going to queue up for such and such a scenario, you want a join us?” or “Hey, we’ve got a group forming for such and such a public quest, you want in?”.

    Ultimately, realms with the best group tactics and the most skilled players are going to control territory and siege cities. Given that there’s a limited number of people who possess innate god-like skill, one of the best ways to improve your realm’s prospects of winning is to nurture and educate everyone who’s willing to learn. My limited experience is that most people, when approached in a friendly manner genuinely want to be good team players and contribute to the winning side.

    So, when you show up to a max-level keep siege and you see some fool swordsman feeding the other side renown by charging in on his own and getting slaughtered: Remember that the problem is probably not in the swordsman, but in the community that allowed him to reach max-level without helping him to get involved in organized PvP.

  5. […] – bookmarked by 2 members originally found by Mark398 on 2008-08-01 Il faut cultiver notre jardin – bookmarked by 1 […]

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