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A Guide to Online Game Management

Written by The Staff

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B. GM Management
One thing you cannot do without in a large online game is having several Game Masters. So next to players you have a second group of people you are catering to, and you need to be attentive to their needs. This chapter will make a few observations as how you can effectively deal with Game Masters as the owner of a game. Remember that without your GM's you will never reach your prioritized goals.

1. The Honeymoon
A new online RPG will probably start out with just one or two moderators in addition to yourself. So there is no need to be formal, since you have very short lines of communication. These are also moderators you are likely to know for some time and you are familiar with their habits. With only about 10 to 20 players between you, the posting rate is quick and everybody is happy and not at all overworked. The only thing you might be struggling with is that not everything is finished on the game designing end of it.

2. Growing Pains
Apparently you have created a kick ass game. Players flock to your site, and the moderators are struggling to keep up. Amidst the stress of having to deal with so many things at the same time some might hit a time crunch in real life and be unavailable for a week or two, while others disappear on you or simply admit having writer's block. Now that you have been warned, make sure that you let the number of moderator's grow in the same rate as the number of players. Consider creating several levels of hierarchy to meet the new demands on your game (see below). Your group of moderators is now too large for easy communication on a day to day basis, so you will need to implement methods to keep everybody up to date and on the same line. (see C. logistics)

3. Reaching maturity
You have reached that level were you no longer know each and every moderator. It would be wise to have a clear selection procedure in place, as well as a rules of conduct. Things are more or less out of your control now. If you haven't taken proactive steps earlier you will pay the price now.

1. Selection
Before you appoint anyone to their position as Game Master, ask yourself what criteria GM's should meet. Almost any role-player will call himself "a great game master". But what you need is objective criteria. Remember that especially in the later stages of growth you will not personally know each applicant, so the selection procedure is replacing that knowledge. Questions to ask are for instance:
  • What's your view on the freedom PC's have?
  • What's your view on a good moderator?
  • How would you solve this conflict (with example given)?
  • Give us an example starting post of a location
  • Name ten plotlines you'd like to run
  • Letter of recommendation by previous GM

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