Starting a Private Server – Attracting Players, Having Fun, Profiting

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Some of you maybe already own one or multiple private servers; some of you may yet be starting out with your very first private server, thinking: “wow, how do I compete with servers that already have over 500 or more players?” In general, you don’t. Here’s a couple of practical tips and information you need to think about.

Lots of mmorpg players

The reason most servers have a high player base is that because they have been around for a couple of years, or their owners already spent (a lot) of money advertising the server using different methods.

When starting a private server, your main goal should be to entertain your player base, make them feel like they are part of your community, not a money making machine. A lot of people want to create a private server because they think it will make them money, well; it CAN make you money.

Starting a private server is much like starting an internet business, I will take it upon me to quote one line from an e-book I have read, the line states “Knowing, Caring, Profiting”, and these are exactly the steps you need to take to start a successful private server.

You will need to KNOW what tools are required for starting the private server; tools can be money, hardware, knowledge, connections.

You genuinely need to CARE about your server; this means everything that comes with it: players (community), scripts (setting up custom content), server (maintaining a lag-free environment). This is of course not everything, but these are probably the issues you will mostly be busy with.

After you gain all knowledge that is needed to set up the server, as well as showing that you actually care for the players and the community by participating in play or running awesome events, you can PROFIT from it by asking for donations in exchange for items or services.

Knowing

Knowing also means that you know which type of private server you want to run, this goes hand in hand with caring for the content and topic your server is started for; if you do not care about World of Warcraft, do NOT start a World of Warcraft private server. You might want to be tempted to do this because WoW is very popular, but this also means that there are a lot of other private servers trying to make money from it as well.

Another part of knowing is diving into the documentation that comes with the private servers, setting it up is relatively easy, you can set up a Ragnarok Online private server within 15 minutes and have players coming to it. The main thing your server will need to even remotely compete with others is “content”; yes, every game has its own content but why would players come to a server that has 0-10 players instead of one that has 1000+ and has some custom weapons? Exactly; they won’t.

This means you will have to think of unique content that players would like to see, you can either have someone create the content for you for a price, or do it yourself. Depending on your financial situation this may vary. If you choose to let others create content/scripts, it’s always good to at least know something about it so you can provide valuable input.

You could ask around on various forums what players really want to see in a private server, and work with that, once it’s finished, you can then advertise your server together with the announcement that you have this ‘elite’ content they wanted.

Not only content is important, you will also need to know and keep track of updates that the emulator provides, so you can stay up to date on your server and have the latest bug fixes and content.

“Enthusiasm is the first and most critical ingredient to building a successful private server.”

Caring

Like I said before, you will need to care about every aspect of your private server if you want to profit from it. This is exactly why you need to pick a game you are comfortable with; maybe you have played the game yourself. You will need to be enthusiastic about it and you should have fun running the private server altogether.

Look for enthusiasm, not money. Money is always nice, but it should not be your main focus. If you enjoy running your server, players will enjoy walking and jumping about on it, and will genuinely feel that they are a part of your community. This results in these players inviting their friends to play with them on your server (word of mouth) and will eventually result in increased traffic on your server.

I will discuss marketing your private server in an upcoming article, we will discuss how you can gain initial players to start with and keep them coming.

“Enthusiasm breeds success and success will bring in profits.”

Like I said before, you will need to care about every aspect of your private server if you want to profit from it. This is exactly why you need to pick a game you are comfortable with; maybe you have played the game yourself. You will need to be enthusiastic about it and you should have fun running the private server altogether.

Patience is also a concept of caring for your private server. Of course you will want to have 50 players running about on the server within the first week, but unless you have attained credibility through another source (friend/marketing/being famous), this is unlikely to happen.

Setting up a server is easy, maintaining a server is hard work. When you start out, nobody knows your server even exists, so obviously you will have zero to none players. You will have to create awareness of it to attract players.

You need patience:

  • As you gain your first players
  • As you gain enough players to profit from it enough to cover the monthly hosting costs
  • For word of mouth to spread between players so they come play on YOUR server
  • To see how well your advertisement and awareness techniques have worked out.
  • For your reputation to succeed you

“Simply put, you need patience to achieve what you want to achieve.”

Profiting

After your server has a vast traffic base you can start asking for donations. Maybe you have already done this when you started your server and received a few dollars in the process. The more players you have the more profit you will gain from donations.

On private servers, donations mostly go hand in hand in exchange for items; the player pays an amount of cash in exchange for an item or credits, which can be used to purchase items ingame. This is probably the most popular method of profiting from a private server.

When you receive great amounts of profit, do not start to neglect your server, remember that your income is dependent on the players, and when they leave; so does your cash flow.

Re-invest your profits into the server:

  • Create an extra ‘realm’ or ‘world’
  • Redesign the website by making it easier to access
  • Provide a 3 way system for players to join (3 steps “register, download, play”).
  • Advertise your server on toplist sites such as mmotop100.net
  • Use Google AdWords to redirect players to your website

There are countless methods you can use to invest your profits to gain even more players.

“Remember: Players = Profit = Players”

That’s all I have to offer at this moment, I will write an article about how you can improve awareness of your server, market it and attract new players.

Tell me about your private server experiences, which methods do you use to advertise and create awareness for it, how long did it take for your server to have a vast amount of players?



Source by Remco Vergoossen

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