Dual Wielding LFG Edition – Sometimes a topic is just too big for a couple of bloggers on their own. That’s when we send out the call, and see who steps up to help us with the challenge. This week, in the final edition of Dual Wielding, we’ve put together a three person team to tackle the question, “What can players do to foster community?”
Last time we were here, there was a big and juicy discussion about how MMO devs can create a stronger sense of community. That all said, I wholly agree that building a community in these games is a two-way street. So Mersault put out the call to tackle the question of what players can do to help.
The first and most obvious method is creating fansites. I’ve blogged before about the over-dependence of these creations and assumed game health, but I still say that fansites and fan forums are the best and most convenient way to help build a community. Playing games like WildStar and Blade and Soul, I’m personally more connected to sites like WildStar Central and Blade and Soul Dojo than any of the official forums or subreddits.
Springboarding off of that, player-run events are definitely another way to make a game community feel connected. There’s a calendar full of events running in Final Fantasy XIV’s roleplay community practically every day of the week, making an otherwise small subset of a playerbase get together and know that they’re nowhere near alone or as small as they maybe feel.
Events that otherwise welcome or assist new players are especially vital. MMO’s can have a steep entry curve for some people just starting out, and making things more comfortable for new players is only going to grow the game playerbase and ultimately keep an MMO healthy. Despite my own growling and recoiling in disgust at EVE Online, I will forever congratulate EVE University for being a thing, and applaud efforts that make a game that otherwise seems insular a welcoming place.
Finally, one of the best ways to build an MMO community is by word-of-mouth. Even if you’re not a major streamer or blogger or pundit for a game, simply sharing your enjoyment can be enough to make MMO’s a brighter place. Joining in conversations or helping out or attending the items I listed above can be a great way to engage and do your part to make your favorite MMO a positive experience.
That’s not to infer that you have to sugar-coat things, however; in fact, criticism of a game by its most ardent fans can be even more vital. The trick is to word that criticism in as warm and as helpful a manner as possible. If you must go to an official forum to air your grievances, you’ve got to remember that devs are humans too, regardless of whatever corporate overlord they have to kowtow to. Even more importantly, others who might just be ghosting the forums could be reading your words, and if you’re contributing to a negative perception in a forum, then players are just not going to want to experience an MMO community no matter how fun the game might otherwise be.
It’s perceptibly the will of Holy Mother Internet to create tribes of people who then get in to digital rooms to roar at each other. However, that same mob mentality can create places where wonderful things happen, and MMO’s are the one type of genre where these methods can make the most difference. Think of the example of #SaveCOH and realize just how potent a motivated playerbase can be.
And realize that you can affect that same level of change.