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Hardest things in building your games community?


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What are some of the struggles you have found when building a community in your game? What has worked for you, or has blown up horribly when it has come to trying to build a strong community inside your game?

Community building is always a challenge, it is hard to build a strong sense of community while you are still actively working on a game that essentially the focus of the community. But let's be honest, without a community, there is very little to any sim or pet site.

So, as a question more geared to newer sites, or sites that recently opened for registrations that are currently developing their communities, what have you found has been good for your communities, and what has not? @Hare, @runeowl, @SugarFoxKym

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Would love to hear about this from others because either I'm doing something wrong or I lucked out. Most of the rabbit community already existed. I go to shows and conventions, socialize on Facebook, and sell things. I made some business cards for the game to hand out and stick in envelopes when people buy from me. Most of our players joined because they saw the game on Facebook or got a card in the mail/in person or from word of mouth.

I guess it's like the VPL community has migrated over to TGL.  I think communities come together when there's a common interest. 

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It's a really tough topic.  Something that I constantly struggle with.  I bought IcePets with an amazing community, to begin with, so I didn't have to fight through lots of the difficulties.

I think, and I could be wrong.  But a lot starts from the staff.  If the staff are approachable, friendly and are actively interacting with the members of the community, then more people will be drawn to it.  In my opinion, they need to come across as humble, and really, just another member at the end of the day.  Overly preachy leads to people condescension which leads the members feeling like they don't belong.

The problem is building it up the initially (i.e. getting people to come to your site).  That you have to build up through advertisement (i.e. social media, forums, etc.).

~judda

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  • 3 months later...

Animal Acres came with a pretty good community. I think what helps foster is has definitely been being approachable and open to feedback and different opinions. That has helped with Eliyo, but it's still not that developed yet. But I think people appreciate when you listen, give reasoning for decisions, and can take feedback constructively addressing concerns. 

 

Another thing is you have to monitor people to make sure people are following the rules, and I don't allow any type of bullying or being disrespectful, different opinions are fine, but no attacks on people for those opinions even if they aren't popular. Havent had much that's need corrected yet though, but respect is mentioned in the rules.

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HP isn't a new site/developing a community, but I do have some experience with this, haha. HP has a great community. Seriously, they're amazing. And it's one of the things the game is most frequently complimented on. But it wasn't always that way, and I've worked on other games that had a different experience.

I think the biggest things are:

1. The staff. They need to be welcoming, they need to enforce the rules evenly, and be interacting with the community in a positive way. Even if that just means sitting in chat and talking to people about their day, or making sure that every forum topic gets a reply.

2. No drama. Seriously enforce a zero tolerance drama policy. I'm not saying ban people with a flair for the dramatic, but the staff should NEVER be involved in it and you should work to shut it down when it starts. Drama kills online communities because the people who you actually want to play eventually can't stand it and leave (or never start playing in the first place). Any of you cutting back on your Facebook and Twitter time recently because it's always a giant troll-fueled mess? I know I am, and the same thing applies to games. Even if a player is not directly involved in the drama, they don't want to see it.

When someone flips their lid on you personally or the staff, even if it's public, don't feed the trolls. Be professional, but firm (don't be a doormat), and have someone else read your replies and tone-check you if you're worried. If they're freaking out, they want you to respond the same way so that they can start the drama. Just don't add any fuel to the fire and they will get bored and leave. This is kind of a generic example, but "I'm sorry you feel that way, but [insert reason why they can't have what they want]" is a great go-to answer.

But, the thing I think is especially serious, is stopping any drama between players when it's reasonable. If two players aren't getting along, that's their business. But if one of those players is telling other players that "so-and-so is terrible and oh my god can you believe what they did?!" it's bordering on cyberbullying and you need to put an end to it.

I guess what I'm saying is that it's important to find a balance between being a neutral third party, and knowing when it's needed for you to step in and stop things.

Also, if it's an option for you, implement a hellbanning system. It's honestly a lifesaver.

 

If you keep a level head, eventually you will weed out the people who feed on discord and you'll be left with the people who make up a great community. I know from experience that it's hard not to fall into the trap of wanting every player to like the game, and the players who cause problems appear to be the most active players in the community because they're always in chat/on the forums, and they're always the first to message you about something. But those players in a lot of cases are actively turning others off from your game.

 

I hope that helps someone!

When I opened HP, I was 15, so believe me when I say that HP didn't always have a great, drama-free community. It took lots of years for me to figure out what I was doing, haha. But those are really my best tips.

I've also bought games where the community hated the sale and they hated me because I was so different from what they were used to, and they didn't like me coming in and changing things. One of those games, I admitted failure and re-sold. The other one, I did get people to come around, but the game is now closed for different reasons.

If you've recently bought a game, or opened one, and it's not going well, just know that you can always start over with the community. Even if you have to be like look, I know that we've got some community problems, but here is how I want to work on them, and go from there.

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