This week we have been looking at the evolution from a server to a community and what roles you will need to fill along the way with Cloakfox from Foxcraft.
When you first start out your server, there might only be you or a few others on your team, but as your community grows you will need to expand your team too. The main areas which you need to get people on board for are moderation and development.
Just as development and new content drives your server forward in terms of gaining new players and keeping them, the type of community also has a massive effect on what type of players will choose to stick around.
A defining element of community is its rules and a growing server means you will need them to make sure that gameplay is fair and that players know where they stand. Rules will be necessary in-game, on your forums, and anywhere that players are able to interact with each other.
Your rules define the atmosphere of the server so they may need to be adapted depending on the type of server you are running. Competitive games tend to be made up of older players and in the heat of the moment, the in-game chats can be much less family oriented than different game types. This might be something you need to be aware of in your rules as the freedom to express yourself might be part of what your community is about, or you might want to run a more family friendly server which does not allow that type of behaviour.
Some of the most common rules which cover most servers are, no cheating with mods; no advertisements; no spamming the chat and no bullying. Further than the obvious, you can shape your server rules to encourage the atmosphere you want for your community. So long as your rules are clear to your players you will be able to decide on the consequences for breaking them. Breaking minor rules might just result in muting a player and some might ban them for a time for first offences. Then the more major rules or repeat offences would have stronger consequences, like being banned permanently or being stripped of your ranks.
Once you have your rules in place you will need to make sure that you have someone to enforce them. At the very beginning of your server’s life, this might just be you who’s in charge of keeping track of your community but as the server grows you will need to get more people involved.
Cloakfox uses several different levels of staff on Foxcraft starting with Helpers who are members of the community that play a more active role. A Helper’s job is to moderate the chat and report players who may be cheating and report to a Moderator. The Moderator's job is more hands on and involves the ability to ban and mute players who are breaking the rules. Then it is the Admins, whose role consists of all of the above and includes settling disputes and giving the final say on small matters brought forward by the moderators. Their other responsibilities include training and guiding moderators. Each role has more sway in the community and players who really enjoy and get involved in the server often choose to take part and help out.
As a server owner, a lot of the more pressing community issues can make their way to your plate and you can end up having to manage applications or staff issues as well as all of your other responsibilities. To combat this you can put in place a Community Manager who has final say on a day to day basis and looks after the community as a whole from players to admins.
When choosing any applicant to any level of staff it’s important to take into account the type of person they are and make sure that they are fair, reasonable and trustworthy. This only gets more important the higher up you go. The reason this is important is that staff members who undercut the rules or have too much bias can damage your community and make players feel as though they are not being treated fairly. This is really important to avoid or be deal with quickly as your community is one of the best sources of advertising for new players and unhappy players are much less likely to purchase from your store.
As well as in-game, the aspects of moderation and community are key in your forums. Forums are one of the best ways of keeping players engaged and interacting with each other on a daily basis. They also serve as a place to manage player reports, staff applications, ban appeals, server announcements and play host to your rules and general information.
As they are a key part of many server’s loyal communities, forums can be a great place to include exclusive content like coupon giveaways, events and competitions. When you are choosing the forum software you want to use for your community, it is important to make sure that you have a rich feature set in terms of player management, integrations and statistics.
Custom integrations can help with player engagement in the community and can solve issues with players not getting involved. New players won’t necessarily get involved in the communities straight away, however, there are ways of engaging new players in the forums as Foxcraft has done with forum registrations. All new sign ups on the forum get a “Member” rank in-game. This works well at overcoming the first barrier of interaction. The players will get a reward and start to feel as though they have joined the community.
Forums are the place where your most loyal players will stay active and so they are very important to look after, along with your staff who support the whole community every day. There are always ways you can improve the community spirit of your server, so as an owner it pays to listen to your players and help them feel at home in your community.
If there’s anything which you want to share on Buycraft University let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, happy experimenting!
Cloakfox - https://mcfoxcraft.com/
"Foxcraft is a network that consists of multiple classic gamemodes like Factions, Skyblock, Survival, Creative, etc. All of these gamemodes have custom features that you won't be able to find on any other generic gamemode server. Other than trying to create classic gamemodes with a twist, we are also mostly a community driven server. We greatly take into account our players opinions about certain features and try to make the best out of each release/reset."