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Building Server Communities

Mdesade's Avatar


Mdesade
06.19.2012 , 09:22 PM | #1
Hello SWTOR,

I'm thinking of doing an article about server community building in MMOs, with a SWTOR-specific slant. So, I'm looking for general opinions, as well as specific ideas on the subject. If anyone from BIoWare happens to stop by and has some thoughts, I'd love to hear from you as well.

I'll list a few questions to help guide the discussion, but this is a more open-ended sort of thing...so feel free to contribute in any fashion as long as it relates to building a community. I'd love to hear about really awesome player-driven events, opinions on events like the rakghoul plague and in-game features that either help or hinder that sense of community. If a meaningful discussion gets going, I'd also hope that feedback could be used to improve the game ( a guy can dream, eh?).

Note: Although I am doing this for article research purposes, I will be sure to ask you if I decide I'd like to use your feedback for my article.

Discussion questions

1. How important is it to have a sense of server community in a MMORPG?

2. Whose responsibility should it be to help build server communities? Devs, players, community managers, etc?

3. Is/was there a strong sense of community on your server in SWTOR (if you recently transferred servers, feel free to talk about your old server)?

4. Is it generally easy or difficult to build server communities in SWTOR?

5. What features could be added to improve community building?

6. What features could hinder server communities?

7. Any other comments?


TLDR: Server communities: How do we build them?

I need to catch some sleep for my day job, but I'll be reading over things tomorrow. Happy gaming everyone.
Member of Ascendancy
Writer at End Gamers
Elizabet: 50 Tank Assassin: Canderous Ordo

Mdesade's Avatar


Mdesade
06.20.2012 , 06:40 AM | #2
Don't feel like you have to answer every question. I mostly had those as guidelines. I'm also interested in hearing about instances where people on your server came together on something.

For example. Before server transfers on Juyo, a few of us started organizing server-wide premade nights. It sounds simple, but I actually started seeing guilds in PvP that I didn't recognize, and our warzone queue time went down. It also stimulated quite a bit of camaraderie on Juyo. A lot of games ended with a flurry of "GGs" on both sides. Overall, it was a highly successful event, and all it took was someone to point out "hey. we should all try queuing with groups at the same time."
Member of Ascendancy
Writer at End Gamers
Elizabet: 50 Tank Assassin: Canderous Ordo

Sporin's Avatar


Sporin
06.20.2012 , 07:06 AM | #3
Discussion questions

1. How important is it to have a sense of server community in a MMORPG?

Very! It should be the backbone of any MMO (imo ofc).

2. Whose responsibility should it be to help build server communities? Devs, players, community managers, etc?

All of the above! Players need to mingle, Devs need to give them reasons to mingle, and CMs should be firing up events/ideas to feed the devs on what the people want. (again imo).

3. Is/was there a strong sense of community on your server in SWTOR (if you recently transferred servers, feel free to talk about your old server)?

On my old server (Trask Ulgo) there was very little, but it was pretty dead. New server (The Progenator) it is better, but not by much, in guild it's great & there is a good friendly vibe, but the fleet is full of witty remarks & kids being kids with nasty remarks, name calling & soon™ I think we'll see things like "Dirge!" appearing.

4. Is it generally easy or difficult to build server communities in SWTOR?

Seems harder than usual, most want to solo or stick to their guilds. I think PuGs and the bad name other games have earned it doesn't help.

5. What features could be added to improve community building?

Events that draw players together in a common goal instead of "everyman for himself" style like thr Rakghoul one. a good example of this type of thing would be DAoCs Relics, the minute the alarm was raised that the enemy was trying to steal a relic the whole server acted as one to defend it. Now that was real working together! (imo once again).

6. What features could hinder server communities?

Solo/story events could harm it. Spamming channels isn't helping it a lot, and Nerfing (imo) the biggest damage dealer to communities, players tend to be upset and hate on both the FotM class(es) and if they have been nerfed because of crying about being the FotM. (A good example was the Warrior nerf in Rift, the upset (and rightly so) Warriors exploded and a good few stopped playing over it (I lost 4 good guild mates who never returned to it).

7. Any other comments?

More player fluff would add to spice things up. Like mini games, better social gear, better social items, generally more fun things, oh and ofc fixing sitting - thats very mixed up atm!
And the social level thingy... Only hurts it! It needs to go!
Of all the things I've lost I miss my mind the most!

Dragonsspear's Avatar


Dragonsspear
06.20.2012 , 08:36 AM | #4
1. How important is it to have a sense of server community in a MMORPG?

Community is the backbone of any MMORPG. Without it one starts to feel like there is no reason to play and it can be kind of depressing. I do not think I would play any game for more than a month if there was nobody I could play with or at least talk about the game with on a regular basis. It is paramount for me!

2. Whose responsibility should it be to help build server communities? Devs, players, community managers, etc?

While the short of it is all of the above, I think we should expect to see some more from the devs. One thing that I have yet to see is how the guild rivals and partners did anything other than allowing a piggyback at launch. It would be nice to see a way for that to MEAN something in the game.

On another side of it players seem to drive others away because of the anonymity of being online. There is a huge responsibility on each player to help make the community better and to see that everybody is having fun. If not then you find people leaving in droves, then the game dies, and no more community at all.

3. Is/was there a strong sense of community on your server in SWTOR (if you recently transferred servers, feel free to talk about your old server)?

4. Is it generally easy or difficult to build server communities in SWTOR?

As with any MMORPG I have always found it difficult to find the right group of people. I lucked out with the guild finder and discovered the right kind of fit I had always been looking for. This greatly assisted in the community as a whole. After server transfer its hard to determine because of that vast numbers difference, but I see efforts by many to make each server closer. All that to say it seems kind of in between at the moment.

Scorpienne's Avatar


Scorpienne
06.20.2012 , 12:57 PM | #5
Interesting! I'm newly transferred to the Ebon Hawk, and as a community, we're still all kinda reeling from having our status quo all jumbled up. I think change is hard, but will be good. I've posted your questions on the three (!) major non SWTOR forums for the EH, and will see what sort of answers people come up with.


Paige

emartell's Avatar


emartell
06.20.2012 , 02:25 PM | #6
1. How important is it to have a sense of server community in a MMORPG?

Why play an MMO if there is no community? I believe that it is important to know the names of your teammates, and have some sort responsibility to your actions. As MMOs become more casual, they need to even emphasize it more. The thing that gets people logging on isnt just the game itself.. it is the bonds they make with other players.

2. Whose responsibility should it be to help build server communities? Devs, players, community managers, etc?
Id like to say it is 50/50 player and dev but I dont know. I think it is important for Devs to lay the ground work, but the players need to keep it up. The lasting community is all about the players.. the Devs have very little to do with it.

3. Is/was there a strong sense of community on your server in SWTOR (if you recently transferred servers, feel free to talk about your old server)?
Our community on Juyo was amazing. As you can tell from my signature, I haven't yet moved my "home" to our new location on CandOr. We are happy that pvp pops are quick and the fleet is hoppin.. but my "home" is with those of us on Juyo. Thankfully our community was so strong we have been able to keep things going. Many Many of us knew each other and have kept in contact. Just waiting around the PvP terminal is a family reunion of sorts. The moment we hit the WZ and see one of our own (be it friend or foe) we immediately get excited. The PvP community on Juyo was strong. Together we practiced and used each other as training on a daily basis. We became a family who enjoyed having amazingly great fights. We had planned events on a weekly basis together.. We kept in contact on almost a daily basis. We had moved beyond trash talk.. and congratulated each other after matches.. and told each other how well we did.. even in the worst defeats. Our new server isn't a friendly. the community hasn't grown to that extent yet.. and many of us are home sick.

4. Is it generally easy or difficult to build server communities in SWTOR?
Much easier than people think. Ive found a niche in my community for being the "social butterfly" in the deal and with enough respect, things can happen. It just takes one good catalyst. I truly believe ours on Juyo was a troll. He constantly talked trash in general and people started to fight back. At that point, our common enemy made us friends... and that grew like wildfire.

5. What features could be added to improve community building?
When/if server merges happen, BW must make server forums. The large communities of these "mega servers" need to be about to find each other easily.

6. What features could hinder server communities?
Cross server LFG without very strong restrictions. sadly enough, many people will do anything if they know they wont get in trouble or be held accountable for something. Humans tend to take the shortest path. Ninja looting, rude game play, and just general bad sportsman like conduct tends to run rampant when there is no accountability.
Barbar'ella - Op Healer - Putrescence - Sorc Healer - Bigness - Commando Healer
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Mdesade's Avatar


Mdesade
06.20.2012 , 04:42 PM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Scorpienne View Post
Interesting! I'm newly transferred to the Ebon Hawk, and as a community, we're still all kinda reeling from having our status quo all jumbled up. I think change is hard, but will be good. I've posted your questions on the three (!) major non SWTOR forums for the EH, and will see what sort of answers people come up with.


Paige
Thanks for your input and for spreading things around a bit!

Things are about the same on my new server, so I definitely understand that. The folks from Juyo are working on maintaining what we had on our original server, while finding places on Canderous. I have certainly witnessed a lot of original server pride from those transferring (much of my guild included).

I'm interested in seeing how things go once people settle in to the new spaces.
Member of Ascendancy
Writer at End Gamers
Elizabet: 50 Tank Assassin: Canderous Ordo