Being that I am in my last week in a particular community, I headed out to search for a new MMO. My girlfriend Lydia sent me back an email with a link to one that I will be reviewing later this week.
However, it got me thinking about the community within the forums.
When I join a new game I immediately go to their forums. I have always played games where the interaction in the forums was huge. Often it is like a big online soap opera: controversy, hate, love, all mixed up.
An important factor I like to see is how people are welcomed. Usually I’ll ask a person to join with me, I will post everything about me and I will have the post a meager and slim profile.
I do it to see how we are welcomed. For me, it helps me know how long I’ll stay. I like to look for a welcome thread (and response) or a forum to welcome people. Some people are shy and when going to the community to see what they are about its like a
first date where impressions are lasting. Sure if you feel welcomed you want to hang out, get to know people, come back and maybe even bring a friend. But if your first impression is bad, well you may stick around that first day, but the chances that you will come back or tell a friend are slim.
The next thing I look for is a help thread. A thread that tells you the basics of the game, how to get a quick start and some terminology.
Eh, you may think it sounds like a lot but, when you don’t know the lingo its hard to catch on.The help threads are important in the any new player’s beginning. Any time you have a game, you want to keep new people. When people come to game, in all honesty they want to get the basics of the game and start developing. If someone has to spend more then a day learning the basics of a game, more then likely you will have lost them.
The most important thing I look for in the threads is helpfulness. I see if people are flamed for not knowing the obvious or treated poorly because they might of posted in the wrong section, or if the
community seems to be helpful and generally nice. When you’re new to gaming itself and you are trying to sort and account, it is hugely intimidating to register on forums. Its like starting at a new school.
Not everyone has the balls to barge through the class room doors and say, “I have arrived!”
When I was doing work for Blood On Binary, I had joined some forums to post about upcoming beta testing for their game, tell them the forums had moved and about our in game system we had put up. I posted and not more then 5 minutes later I got 9 posts all negative or snide remarks and comments. I hated to think if I had posted in the wrong forum all together. Lol. I emailed the site admin and sent him a link to the thread. I then asked him, “If you were new to the forums and stumbled upon this thread, how long would you stay?” He replied and commented,”I wouldn’t.” My point was not to get these people in trouble but unfortunately
not everyone is as thick skinned as me. It was to show him that the people that make up his community need to welcome people, not scare them away.
People are the best way to market your game, and the best tool is word of mouth. So in building a community, you need to make these people feel like they have been here forever, as if they are familiar. If you make them feel like an outsider then they will be, and it is the game that loses out at that point.