Top Retention Tips

 

This article was written by James Drysdale from Starbase 118 (visit their website).

welcome mat won't you stay a while

Recruitment and retention have been hot topics on OngoingWorlds lately and they’re both important. Attracting players to your game is essential to keep it viable because no matter how good you are, people’s circumstances change and there are many things outside a GM’s control that can take players away from the game, from education or new jobs to expanding family or even caring responsibilities. New players are the lifeblood of our games, so what can we do to increase retention and as ensure our new players want to stay? Here are a few of my favourite tried and tested tips:

1: Make them feel welcome

You can have an immediate, positive impact on your new players just by sending them a message to introduce yourself and welcome them to the game. Similarly announcing new players to the rest of the crew and getting everyone to introduce themselves and welcome the new player makes them feel wanted and part of the community. It’s a simple thing to do and it doesn’t take a lot of time but it can have a big impact and is generally greatly appreciated. It can be intimidating joining a group of people who’ve been playing together a while and these personal touches matter.

2. Give them the information they need

You may have a wiki, or particular pages or documents that tell players about your game world and what’s happening. It’s all very well expecting the players to seek this information out themselves to bring themselves up to date but there can be a lot for a new player to take in all at once. As part of my welcome message to new players I always give them the essential, basic information they need to jump right in and signpost them to further reading that they can look at when they have time. Furthermore I tell them how to jump in, and this may be as simple as having their character arrive at a particular location and report to a particular character. Doing this shouldn’t take much time as you know your game. It shows you care and removes a common barrier that new players face, particularly in the more original roleplays.

3. Get them involved immediately

Submitting the first post when you’re a new player in a game is a big deal and to some people its a hurdle they really struggle with. Worries about whether their writing is good enough, or if they’ll get something wrong and what people will think of it can occupy a new player’s mind and hold them back. You may have already given the player clear instructions but don’t wait for them to make the first move. If you’ve told the player to report to a particular character at a particular location then get the person who plays that character to tag them in, or write a joint post depending on how your game is normally played. When a player first joins your game they’re generally very excited and eager to get started, if uncertainty holds them back their enthusiasm may drop as days stretch into weeks. The sooner you can get them involved and joining in the fun with everyone else the better.

This article was written by James Drysdale from Starbase 118 (visit their website).

Published by

David Ball

David is a web developer, and the creator of OngoingWorlds

  • Chas

    These are excellent tips. Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed the discussion concerning recruiting, and I hope this starts a good dialogue about retention. #1 and 2 are vital, but still I’m surprised how many times I’ve seen hosts not put much effort into those steps. #3 is one I think even good hosts sometimes overlook – when you get used to the people on your crew being self starters, it’s easy to forget you need that extra nudge to break things down for the new recruit… to give them a specific task, and to task someone on your crew to reach out to them to make sure it occurs.

    • Chas, thank you very much for commenting. I’m truly delighted that you enjoyed the article and I would be delighted to read other people’s take on the subject too. The beauty of these tips is in their simplicity. I also don’t believe any of the three of them are time consuming. I generally find two emails – one directly the the new player with the welcome/information they need, plus one to the crew to facilitate the wider introductions and welcome, plus a sim to tag them is all that’s needed to cover these points.

      “when you get used to the people on your crew being self starters, it’s easy to forget you need that extra nudge to break things down for the new recruit” – I fully agree. 🙂

      Quick, simple, effective. Indeed the simplicity of it may well be partly how it gets overlooked sometimes.