Building a Warhammer server community

While I was writing my last post about the possibilities of unbalanced Warhammer servers (whether the imbalance is population numbers or skill levels), I started thinking about the year that Hibernia was getting a whooping on the Percival server back in DAoC. The three-realm system gave us the opportunity to nip at the heels of Midgard and Albion despite our inability to dominate keep and relic totals, and we were able to learn a lot about working together.

One of our biggest assets in learning to work together was the creation of a Hibernia-only discussion forum. Players would apply to an email address out-of-game with their character names, and the moderators of the forum would respond to you in-game to confirm your identity. It wasn’t a perfect system, and I’m sure there were some spies among the community, but that couldn’t negate the positive effects of feeling like you were working together with your realm mates both in and out of game.

We got to know each other in a different setting, where we had time to discuss tactics. I started waving at people I knew from discussions on the forums, and it lowered the barriers for working together in RvR. Nightshades came up with strategies for stealth keep takes. Rangers worked together to assist each other in milewall standoffs and keep sieges, taking down targets in  coordinate fire. Static groups that ran in packs of eight every night figured out how to coordinate their efforts with the rest of the realm. The zerg could man a milewall or a keep while the static group scouted for other 8-man enemy groups, or they could hit a force attacking the zerg from behind. Communication improved, morale improved, and our results improved to the point where we actually held all six relics for a while.

I don’t know that there are any in-game tools to promote this kind of community-building for your faction. I suspect that realms that want greater communication, cooperation, and coordination will have to use out-of-game tools. Voice chat was still fairly new at that point in DAoC, and I only knew of a few groups who used it. Ventrilo and TeamSpeak have become much more common, and I wonder if factions will try to set up faction-only vent channels. It’s tough to police, but it would be a great way to listen in to intel reports about the movements of both your enemy and your own faction. Faction-only forums make a lot of sense too, but you need a good cop moderating access. It’ll take a while to figure out who you should trust on your server, and I’m sure there will still be instances of spying.

There’s no perfect answer, but finding other people who were interested in talking about bettering your realm out-of-game was a fun part of DAoC. I’ll be interested to see what sort of tipes, tricks, and tools emerge out of Warhammer.

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3 Responses

  1. I agree, how they build server community, or how they support it is going to be one of those really crucial moments in the game.

    Am going to have a think about this and see if I can think of anything more useful than just saying it’s a problem.

  2. Aren’t Mythic planning on having some out of game internet stuff like vieable Tome of Knowledge and Guild info?

    If so, I would assume that they could extend it to up to date info about your Realm’s progress in the War.

    That would help keep people informed. Then slap some forums on the net for each server and realm within each server (unofficial of course) and you’ve got some ongoing out of game community building right there.

  3. I haven’t checked the Warhammer official site to find out what they’ve said they’ll include, but DAoC had some great tools on the Camelot Herald. You could check your server for an update on RvR status, like who controlled what server, and rankings for RvR stats on guilds and individuals. I’d assume they’re going to have tools like that available as well.

    I’m going to have to check the official site now to see what they’re saying 🙂

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