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A Guide to Online Game Management

Written by The Staff


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A. Player Management
Player management is not the role-playing rules you set. That is all part of the realm of the Game Designer. This is, in essence, how you can lead a large group of people: a community. Online games can be anywhere from 10 to 500 players and still not be considered large compared to the big professional ones out there. Imagine such a group in a bar or a local club...how do you keep them all happy?


1. Open Communication
Make sure you know your players and what they want; make sure that they feel safe and stimulated enough to tell you in a direct but fair manner. The keyword here is safety, which among other things is created by being honest about your prioritized goals as well as always assuming a diplomatic personae. No matter your personal feelings, always deal with your costumers in a polite and professional manner. Treat everyone in the same courteous manner. Be open to criticism, even if you have to grind your teeth off screen.


2. A deal is a deal
Do not make false promises or vague excuses. Tell people honestly if you don't know when something will be finalized, or if a resource will ever be available. When you do make a promise, make sure you can fulfill it within a reasonable time span. It is better to pleasantly surprise players with improvements than promise them a year in advance and deal with a year full of questions and frustrations. Part of this is also responding quickly and adequately. Make sure requests from players are handled within days.


3. Fun & Relaxation
No matter what the goals you have set for yourself are, remember that the goal of most players will be fun and relaxation. So keep asking yourself if there are things that could increase that aspect of the game. It is always important to let your players and the moderators mingle in a OOC environment. Let them explore the bonds they have.


4. Rewards
Players can have several rewards from their game: a chance to meet people, getting experience points, seeing their character develop, gaining influential positions, etc. Make sure that your game allows people to advance and thus receive rewards and be prepared to face the consequences. If your rules allow for an archmage to develop over time, make sure you also have something to do for an archmage. Part of the reward can also be to give players partial moderating powers, for instance running a shop.

Remember that there is not just one profile for players. Below we will suggest a few of the most common ones. In a game you will probably encounter all of them and more. Are your resources and rules ready for them?
The Newbie
This player is not just new to your game, he is new to the concept ofrole-playing. He might appear at first to be a Hack & Slash fan but he might easily develop in another type of player. He needs careful and friendly attention from a patient moderator to help him get familiarized with the basic roles of good role-playing. A good mix of training and some adventure might keep this player hooked for life.


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