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Old 02-08-2008, 09:18 AM   #1
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How To Get People to Join Your Servers

Author: ReutherMonkey

This isn't designed to be a magical post that displays the only way to get people to join your server - there are far too many ways to get a following,amd I can't even begin to act like I know all of them. I have, however run plenty of public servers, and I have had the chance to test a number of ways to get players into my servers and keep them there and coming back for more. Here are some of my strategies. They're not really amazing or thought-provoking, and they shouldn't be. These are all merely based on logic, and remember what it's like to be on the other side of the fence without power. There are some very fundemental things a server operator can do that may not ensure you'll get a following, but will definitely help you along your way.

1. Be patient. Once you get a server up, people won't magically flock to it. No one knows your empty server apart from the hundreds of other empty servers in their server browser.

2. Have friends. The best way to set yourself apart from the empty servers in the server list is - *gasp* - by having people in your server! If you and a few friends (preferably 3 or more friends) are in the server actually playing or even just fooling around (just not in spectator) you'll get people to join the server, and actually stay for a little bit. If people join your server and see 4 people in spectator mode, the person who joined doesn't know whether you're AFK, a bot, or whatever. Be ready to play once someone joins the server because whoever joined probably actually wants to play dod instead of running around aimlessly...

3. Use popular maps. To start out, don't use customs and less popular maps. Avalanche is always safe, and Kalt is pretty close. Take a look at the 24/7 xxxxxx servers, and see what maps they're running and see how popular they are. If you notice that all of the popular 24/7 servers are running a particular map, then that's probably the map you want to switch to when you want to fill up your server.

NOTE: Take into account your server size. 32 player Flash probably isn't going to be as popular as 32 player Jagd. If you have a large server though, Jagd might be a better idea. Got a 16 player server - you might want to skip the larger maps. Use maps that play well for your server size.

4. Use fast downloads. If you choose to use custom maps, then under all circumstances use fast-download. If you don't use fast download, then by the time people download it from the gameserver at around 8KBps, the map will be done, and they'll have waisted 1/2 an hour (they'll disconnect if you don't have fast-download rather than wait).

5. Limit your extras - Don't make people wait for a decade downloading sounds that they probably don't want to hear anyways. If you're going to have sounds, limit them to a small amount, but not 25 sounds - maybe 4 or 5 max. Don't make people wait to join your server, or they'll just disconnect and go to a server where they don't have to wait. Very simple.

6. Have simple, easily understood rules. Don't say "no spawncamping", but then choose an arbitrary definition of "spawncamping" (for example, some servers say that the entire axis housing area on avalanche is somehow their "spawn"). You, as the admin, should take proactive measures to ensure your rules are followed. If you have a no cursing rule, then use a plugin to filter curse words out of text, and be ready to disable voicechat. It simplifies your job, and keeps people in your server.

7. No stupid rules. This is kind of attached to the previous point - don't make rules like "knives only" unless you're able to force players to use knives. You should notice by now that all it takes is a single player to use an auto and the whole server turns into chaos. Don't make rules you can't easily enforce, and don't ban people for violating petty rules if you choose to do it anyways.

8. Be fair. This is one of the biggest problems I see that server admins have, so read this please. Do NOT have different rules for different players. Don't have a no-cursing rule for players, and then allow the admins to defile the player's mothers with all sorts of vile descriptions of possibly illegal acts. This will guarantee that you will NOT keep a following. If you enforce a rule against the players, do the same to the admins. If your buddies don't like it, they shouldn't be admins. Make sure the rules are uniformly enforced, and no one is above the rules.

9. Relax and take advantage of admin tools. There are a plethora of tools that admins have at their disposal to ease their jobs. Use em. VAC works fairly well, don't waste your time trying to assume that every guy who kills you must be a cheater. Play the game. Use admin plugins to see who sprayed what spray, and to censor words if you deem it appropriate. You don't need to go overboard though.

10. Give the users power. I noticed when I ran my servers that rigid mapcycles were a sure-fire way to get people to leave the server, because if a map came up that they didn't like, or a player was on the server blocking doorways and being unruly, they'd leave. Use voting and be democratic. Mapvotes should be decided by a simple majority of votes. ALWAYS include a map extension, and don't restrict the number of extensions. Why change a good thing? If the players want to play avalanche 24 times in a row, let em - they're staying in your server, and once you get a large following, they WILL be more receptive to other maps.

As far as votekicks and votebans, I used them, but it kinda depends on the server. Set your votekick ratio to a lower percentage than 50% - otherwise, the team with the unruly player will have to have at least 1 vote from the opposing team (the unruly player won't vote for themselves!). Guess what, the opposing team probably knows that if they get rid of the guy causing a rucus on your team, you'll be able to attack them harder. For this reason, i used to set my vote percentages at a reasonably low 40%. This allowed a team to vote off another player if they were unruly. As I said above, most players just want to play dod without disruption, so I wouldn't worry much about abuse. In the end, players will be very happy to have at least some minor control over the quality of the game.

BOTS: My personal recommendation is not to use them. After 5 years, I can say that i've seen bots actually work in servers about 5 times. Players don't want to play against bots on the internet if they can play against the same bots on their own machine, and at least there have the benefit of changing the difficulty of bots. Bots are NOT a replacement for human players - they play differently (to make up for user delay, they simply use timers making their movements extremely predictible) and are unconvincing. If you choose to use them, do so at your own risk, as they are at least equally good at making people leave your server as they are to join it.

In the end, most DoD players are mature and just want to play the game they love. Focus on making their game as enjoyable as it can be, and they will frequent your server. Good Luck!

Last edited by RosietheRiveter: 02-08-2008 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 04-23-2008, 06:22 AM   #2
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Great points!

Worth a sticky.
Crillie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2008, 06:16 AM   #3
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You know what, people still aren't following these rules...
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Old 01-20-2009, 05:25 PM   #4
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Thanks for the tips. I've recently been tasked with an admin roll for my clan. I need to revive their seldom used DoD:S server.
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Old 02-20-2009, 10:38 AM   #5
DOD ownage
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Point #8 FTW!!! So many times I see admins who think they are above the rules. Maybe you should include something about advertising servers on places like FPSB that worked for me.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:55 AM   #6
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for me it's not so hard to make players join my server )) i have about 240 friends
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