Gaiscioch Reveal its Chapter Selection Process
By: Benjamin "Foghladha" Foley | : 2919 : 2
Along time ago, in a game far far away, a community was born. With bows at the ready, swords craving violence, and battle spells manifesting the Gaiscioch Social Gaming Community was born. Created out of necessity, as a home for those cast out by other guilds and clans. A home for the underdogs, the left behind, and the forgotten.
It began as a simple idea. A means of sharing childhood stories with a roleplay community in the land of Hibernia. From our humble beginnings in Dark Age of Camelot we sprung to life and grew rapidly. Today we look back at 15 years of history and see a long road of lessons learned, adventures shared, and life long friendships made.
The Early Days
Originally our community was focused on roleplay and realm vs realm warfare. For nearly 5 of our 15 years we rocked the battlefield in Dark Age of Camelot. Our Realm vs Realm tradition continued as we launched into Warhammer Online.
Choosing a battlefield was easy in the beginning. A: Did the game have RvR? B: Was the game fun? Done. Simple. Only one demographic to worry about. Only a handful of games available on the market. Being small and focused had it’s advantages. It made the path in which we travel clear.
The New Generation
After Warhammer Online we moved to RIFT after the lure of new frontiers and PvP combat. With the promise of a Realm vs Realm system we jumped in the pool before it went live. The Realm vs Realm mechanic was pulled right as it entered into open beta and we were left wondering if the choice was right. Did we jump to hastily?
It turned out a good decision in the end and we ended up exploring a whole new kind of content. We forged friendships with developers and made the best of it for the next 2 years. This game gave us an endless guild roster, which we tested with leaps and bounds. Twice we managed to break the guild system. Our numbers at one point exceeded 5,000 characters in the roster.
Analyzing the Road Forward
By the time RIFT started to falter, we knew we had to come up with a system for chapter selection. I looked at some of the other large scale communities like The Syndicate and Acolytes and saw just what negative effects that come with diversifying too widely. The loss of player contact with leadership, the feeling of being “the bastard stepchild”, the management tasks that constantly pull you away from playing the game. This was not the life I wanted, and not the way I wanted Gaiscioch to go.
Instead I chose a focused approach. Where we focused our efforts toward one or two “Chapters” of our Gaiscioch Story. We came up with a guideline for chapters both designed to outline the types of games that I personally can be passionate about and games that provide the most opportunity for success of our community as a whole. I know one thing is certain. If I’m not passionate about the games we play, the community at large suffers. The amount of time and dedication it takes to constructing tools for our website, requires that I enjoy the journey. Otherwise, play becomes work and is no longer something I do for fun.
I sat down with the elders at the time and compiled a list of things that we would like to see in our “perfect” home. We polled the community for what they thought was important and we compiled them into groups.
Now let me be clear. No game is perfect. Every game has shortcomings. It is because of this I have decided to reveal our Chapter Compatibility Matrix so that other communities, Game Developers and Producers can see what we as a community think is important in a game. Our matrix is broken into sections and each section is broken into importance level ranging from we think this feature is cool, to features that are essential.
The Gaiscioch Chapter Compatibility Matrix
This list is continuously changing as we experience new features or different ways of doing things. Some items have been removed in the past because after using them we saw the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Just as games will never be perfect, neither will we and what we think is what we want. There are however, rock solid factors, that will make or break our ability to succeed in a game.
I think it’s important for every guild, clan, or community to look at their own community and define their Ideal game. What would be part of your perfect game? This will allow you to view the future with fact and not the hype that typically comes with a game. A good marketing team can convince you anything is good idea. It turns your process into a simple yes or no.
For us we require a score of 60% against our compatibility matrix to just consider the title. Then it comes down to how responsive devs are, pricing models, and most importantly of all player satisfaction. But before we even compare it against our Compatibility Matrix we run it against a series of essential features that are required in all games we play.
Let’s take a look at these features and I will explain why they are so important. These are referred to as the Core Requirements for Chapter Consideration.
Core Eligibility Requirements
Before we even run a game across our full matrix, we run it across our Core Eligibility Requirements to see if it contains the required ingredients. Without these items present in the game, not just in idea but in practice, we will not consider the game for chapter selection. Each of these items is worth 25 points on our scorecard.
- Fantasy Based (Swords & Shields) - Keeping true to our roots and mythos.
- Guild Size Limit 500+ Players - Need to have room for our community to play together.
- Cross Guild Communication (Alliance System or Custom Chat System) - Need to have a way to communicate with each other in the event we must split into multiple guilds.
- Progressive Gearing System - Keeps players driving forward and gives the community goals to work towards.
- Dungeons (5-10 Players) - Entertains PvE Players and keeps them interested in the game.
- Epic Open World Events / Bosses - Allows us to organize and host public community events.
- Multi-Group UI - Allows us better control over groups when we host large scale community events.
- Need / Greed Loot or Individual Based Rewards - Prevents disgruntled party members.
- RvR Casual Friendly (Drop in / Drop out 24/7) - No forced scheduled timeframes for Siege Warfare.
- RvR Zone Cap Over 500 - Large Battles leave epic memories. The larger the battle the more memorable the experience.
- RvR Gameplay Accessible at 90% of levels - For the players that live and die by siege warfare.
- Siege/Territory Warfare (Rams, Castles, Trebs) - A staple in the Gaiscioch Heritage. We were born of siege warfare and we will die of siege warfare.
- Zone Limit (300 Players per Zone) - We need a canvas large enough to paint an epic community event. Our events typically are upwards of 150 people in attendance. We have been known to exceed 700 people at a single event.
- Responsive Developers - This is critical. When running a large community you get a whole lot of feedback and having a developer contact you can usually get this in front of them rapidly. Silent developers tend not to listen and change is rarely seen. Successful MMO’s are a collaboration between Developers and Players.
- Community Forums - Unofficial forums traditionally become vile wastelands where help is a far fetched idea. Official forums are heavily moderated and have places where players can find solutions to technical problems.
- Loggable Recipes - Allows us to record crafting recipes for our Marketplace system (Work Orders and Requisitions). Also allows us to create crafting guides.
- 5 or More Crafting Professions - Crafting is a huge part of our community and having options is highly desirable.
- Tradable Crafted Items - Being able to craft an item for a new player or fellow guild member goes a long way to building a social relationship with others. For years Gaiscioch has helped new players by giving them useful items to get started. Years later, players still remember that gesture and associate it with our community.
- Customizable Items (Visual) - Let’s face it, players like to look unique. Make their characters their own. This is crucial to the longevity of the game.
- Drop In/Drop Out Content - Objectives Able To Complete In Under An Hour.
- Emotes - Everyone needs sweet dance moves. Emotes are a wordless language and are useful in a lot of situations.
- Local Chat Channels (say) - Being able to talk to people nearby is a core roleplayer mechanic. Using zone wide chats will usually result in trolling and harassment. A short range local chat allows roleplayers to hold events with a lessened fear of grieving and trolls.
- Backstory Available out of Game - This is critically important to our roleplayers. Having a back story and lore allows roleplayers to create exciting stories based on the lore of the game.
- Opt-In PvP - Griefing is a serious problem in games and can cause significant drops in player population. We will only play games that protect users from griefers and allow people to Opt-in to PvP content rather than force it upon them.
- Leveling through PvP - Our PvP players don’t want to be forced to PvE to get gear and levels.
- International Friendly - No Region Lock - Our community is international and if we can’t play together we won’t play in title. There is nothing worse than watching your friends have fun and share adventures you’re not invited to.
- No Casual Punishment (Mandatory Play) - Activities that punish players for not logging in daily. We don’t support games that force people to commit long periods of time to be successful. Most of our community is over 35 and have children, jobs, and families and can’t devote the kind of time they could when they were younger. All games must have things to do to advance on smaller timeframes.
- Nameplates w/ Guild Name - It is impossible to recruit new members by action if they don’t know who you are. Guild Names in name plates help relay this information to other players without having to spam chat channels.
- Offline Guild Invites / Requests - As a global community this is essential. If we can’t invite people while their offline, it requires people to play at times they normally don’t to connect with the community.
- Guild Branding - Having a brand helps build your name within a server community. It can be seen from afar and recognized. It also allows players to have pride in their community by showing their colors. It adds a personal connection to the community.
- Last Login Date - With guild size caps, we must have a way to purge player that are no longer playing. This allows us to purge based on the length of time someone has been away.
The Bigger Picture
Once a game has passed our initial Core Eligibility Requirements, we then run it across our full Chapter Compatibility Matrix. The main portion of our matrix is divided into various categories. These categories are how we view the potential for success for each of our player demographics, and for the community as a whole.
- Guild System
- Social Systems - Grouping & Communication
- PvE & Raiding
- Siege Warfare (RvR)
- Structured PvP
- Community Events Potential
- Crafting & Gathering
- Casual Friendliness
- Exploration & Cartography
- Game System
Each of these areas are given a compatibility score from 1 to 100%. Line items have been collected over the years from the favorite features players who enjoy that playstyle have enjoyed. Each line item is given an importance rating such as:
- Required: worth 25 points - These are critical and we will not open a chapter in a game that does not possess these.
- Important: worth 10 points - These are crucial to our communities success. The lack of these features will hinder our success in the title.
- Needed: worth 5 points - These are items that help us thrive in a game world. They aren’t required but when they’re there, our community can make magic happen.
- Useful: worth 2 points - These are features that we’ve encountered that have made life easier and more enjoyable. While not necessary they are nice to have.
- Added Bonus: worth 1 point - While these are not the most important features, they do add a certain flair to the game and keep players playing.
This is the single most important part of any game. It can make or break the game no matter how good the content is. A good guild system will allow us to grow and entertain the masses. A bad system will begin ripping us apart from the inside out, right out of the gate. The falloff is rapid, the pains of maintenance are high, and everyone feels left out. This is also the largest growing epidemic in the MMO space right now.
So many newer titles are reducing guild sizes, removing communication channels, and hiding guild names making it impossible for communities like ours to even exist let alone thrive. Things that were a staple of games like Dark Age of Camelot, Everquest, Lineage, Star Wars Galaxies and World of Warcraft are now being removed. Why we are unsure. Where are the Alliances in games? Why is every new game limiting rosters to 100 people? Why are custom chat channels absent in new games? The very core staples of the classics have long since been forgotten. We’re left with a barrage of games that are from the ground up antisocial, pushing players to be self reliant, and punishing communities for being successful.
Let’s take a look to the many features that we see as important for the Guild System in any game.
- Guild Size Limit of 500 Accounts or more.
- Nameplates w/ Guild Name
- Offline Guild Invites / Requests
- Guild Branding
- Last Login Date
- Claimable Objectives
- Guild Progression - Levels
- Bridge Between Game and Fan Site (XML, JSON or other Data Feed)
- Slash Commands (/ginvite, /gpromote, /gkick) for macroing routine tasks automatically.
- Guild Storefront - Ability for your guild to sell goods to others.
- Guild Banks/Storage
- Guild Finder System
- Sortable Guild Roster
- Customizable Guild Permissions By Rank
- Account Based Guild Membership
- 10 or More Guild Ranks
- Macroable Promotions (/commands)
- Guild Quests / Activities
- Guild Achievements
- Guild Branded Items
- Web Viewable Guild Page & Roster
- Guild Housing
- Guild Reputation Score
- Guild Calendar
- Guild Calendar Exportable via ical or xml
- Guild Calendar Importable / syncable from ical or xml
- Emblem Importable from PNG
- Guild Rankings
Going the Extra Mile
Rewards for Intraguild Participation
One thing I would love to see in a game is a participation system that rewards players for participating with the guild. The more they team up with other members the more they are rewarded for their efforts.
Rewards for Taking Care of Others
It would be awesome for a game to reward players for opting out of loot rolls, helping new players, and generally encouraging behavior that we’d like to see more of in games. Being helpful instead of selfish, being friendly instead of rude, being a guardian rather than a bully.
Guilds Taking Ownership of New Player Quest hubs
I would be ecstatic if there were systems in place where Guilds could claim a starter town that they could upgrade to provide new players quests, merchants, additional goods and bonuses at a cost of a hourly rent charge. While most guilds would avoid claiming such places communities like ours who go out of our way to take care of new players would be able to help offer guidance and services to new players and leave a memorable first encounter in their minds. Perhaps even add a Stockpile that Guild Crafters and Collectors could toss items into that would randomly be distributed to players hunting in the area.
Shared Knowledge Base
It would be wonderful for a player to be able to learn a rare ability or crafting recipe and be able to teach the guild how to do it. Then anyone in the guild would have access to that skill or recipe so long as their part of the guild. If they leave, they will no longer be able to use that skill or recipe and will have to learn it on their own.
The general tone in player behavior has changed over the years and with a little help from the game mechanic guilds can both be a rewarding experience for players in guild and out.
Social Systems (Grouping & Communication)
This is the second most important category for us as without the ability to communicate and participate the whole experience falls apart. Having a great social system that draws people together and provides an inclusive experience will keep players engaged and active within the community. Social Systems are the ties that bind a community together.
- Cross Guild Communication (Alliance System or Custom Chat Channels)
- 10+ Guild Alliance Limit
- Alliance Chat
- Alliance Guild List
- Account Based Friendslist
- Public / Private Group Declaration
- Looking for Group Tool
- Quick Join Grouping Options
- Social Event Announcements (World Bosses)
- Local Matchmaker (Nearby Open Group Joining)
- Alliance Only Storefront
- Ignore / Block Functionality
- Friends List
- Report Spam / Anti-Gold Seller Mechanic
- Mail System
- Mail System: Attachments
- Mail System: Includes Account Names
- Mail System: Reply Button
- Travel to Player Function
- Alliance Player Roster
- Alliance Wide Bonuses / Perks
- Alliance Wide Achievement Messaging
- Karma System - Helpful Players get Rewards, Malicious Players get Punished
- Mail System: Right Click Mail To
- Alliance Wide Messaging - Alerts
- Alliance Rankings (Web Viewable)
- Instancing based on Friend/Ignore List (Keep you with your friends and away from trolls)
- Alliance Colored Nameplates
- Alliance Branding
- Alliance Points / Score (Chasing the Unicorn)
- Alliance Event Calendar
- Alliance Achievements & Awards
- Web Viewable Alliance Page
- Alliance Player Roster Exportable
- Multi-Alliance Capable
- Alliance Territories (Faction Control)
- Alliance Quests
PvE & Raiding
Since our expansion into RIFT we have developed a core of players who prefer PvE over PvP. Nearly 60% of all activities logged within our community are based in PvE. Just as sPvP is the the Elite Competition for the PvP players, Raiding is the Elite Competition of PvE Players. Both of these facets are essential to our communities success. Without a successful PvE core, the majority of our community will not stay interested and likely bypass the game.
- Progressive Gearing
- Dungeons (5-10)
- Multi-Group UI
- Organizable Multi-Group UI
- Need / Greed Loot or Individual Based Rewards
- Epic Open World Events / Bosses
- Hard Mode Content
- Downlevel / Mentoring / content scaling
- Dungeon Finder / Matchmaker
- Group Assistant
- Ability to Mark Targets (Number or Icon)
- Public Dungeons
- Private Dungeons
- Medium Raid Dungeons (20-50)
- Small Raid Dungeons (10-20)
- Group Questing
- Living Story / Live Events
- Daily Quests
- Random Spawn Events
- Mob Sharing - Everyone Gets Credit
- Gear Scoring
- Unique Weapons & Armor From Rare Mobs
- Personal Story
- Large Raid Dungeons (50+)
- Ready Check
- Master Loot
- Combat Logs
- Assisting / Call Target
- Class Tutorial
- Cinematic Events
- Group Leader Rating - Rate group leader when degrouping.
- Group Kick Vote
- Exportable Combat Logs
- Rare Named Mobs
- 3 or More Creature Difficulty Levels
- First on the Server Achievements
- First in the World Achievements
Siege Warfare (RvR)
At the very essence of our family, you will find RvR. As deep as our roots go we are forever rooted in siege combat. Siege Warfare offers dynamic content that never remains the same. Every battle different, every situation a canvas for a memory. While fighting opponents the battles are unscripted and change from opponent to opponent. This style of gameplay is for the quick thinker, the psychological player, and the strategist. If done right this area alone will keep our community active and healthy over the test of time. It is however the most prone to game breaking changes. So far in our history, 2 of our 5 games have released game breaking patches which caused mass exiles from the game. It is crucial that developers get this right and heed caution when messing with a winning formula.
- Casual Friendly (Drop in / Drop out 24/7)
- Warzone Cap over 700
- Accessible at 90% of levels
- Siege Gameplay (Rams, Castles, Trebs)
- Average Open Field Engagement (30 Sec)
- Average Open Field Engagement (1+ Minute)
- Bolstering or Tiered Battlefields
- Claimable objectives
- Large Objectives (50+ People)
- Medium Objective (20+ People)
- Small Objectives (5+ People)
- 2 or More Realms
- 3 or More Realms
- NPCs Defending Objective (Anti Ninja)
- 5+ Minutes To Capture Large Objectives
- Ambushing Friendly (No Radar)
- Siege Tutorial
- Quick Join GUI
- Large Group GUI (20+ People)
- Realm/Squad Leader Icon on Map
- Realm/Squad Chat
- No God Mode Player Builds (1v2 Possible, 1v10+ Not Possible)
- Outmanned Bolster System
- Realm/Squad Leader Based Rating System
- RvR Achievements
- Upgradeable Objectives
- Massive Objectives (100+ People Coordinated)
- RvR Titles
- RvR Progression
- RvR Skills
- RvR Rewards
- Threat Notifications (Broadcast Notifications) Notifies you when your keep is under attack
- Status Updates in Chat
- Live RvR Map Available by Web
- RvR API
- Live RvR Status on Mobile Devices
Just as some like Raiding, some PvP players like the competitive vein of PvP in the form of small scale scenarios. These are timed matches where there are 2 teams that compete against one another scoring points for completing objectives or racking up the kills. The most skilled PvP players enter in tournaments and seek glory on the sPvP Battlefield. Having a sPvP outlet for the competitive allows for a longer commitment from PvP players.
- Tournament PvP
- Instanced PvP (Scenarios, Warfronts)
- Progressive PvP Gear
- PvP Ranks
- PvP Leaderboards
- Configurable Private Arena’s
- Achievements & Accolades
Community Events Potential
At the very core of Gaiscioch, we are entertainers. From the day we were created our community, we have been focused on hosting public community events open for everyone on our server. These events have ranged from scheduled RvR battles to journeys across the in game landscapes, to hunting the largest bosses the game has to offer. These events are how we as a community grow, how we are noticed, and how we give back to the community that supports us. It is critical that whatever game we go into, has the ability for us to create enjoyable large scale community events.
- Zone Limit (200+ Players per Zone)
- Responsive Developers
- Community Forums
- Large Epic Fights (50+ people)
- Desirable Tradeable Loot (For Giveaways)
- Public Chat Channels
- Developers willing to interact with community.
- Ability to mark the map for large group
- Newsletters with Player Driven Events
- Incentives for Grouping (Bonuses)
- Social Media Support for Event Announcements
Crafting & Gathering
Crafting is one of the more vital pieces of a MMORPG. While some people enjoy questing, exploring, and fighting there are those rare few who love the crafting and gathering side of a game. It is important that these people feel useful, needed and rewarded for their efforts. Allowing them to gain levels and contribute to the community as a whole is critical. This is also one area of a game that every developer should build around the idea of players making wikis and guides. Randomized values make it difficult to index and properly give real data. Games should also think about how they will distribute their data to make quick work of putting up accurate information.
- Loggable Recipes
- Crafting Professions
- Customizable Items (Visual)
- EXP for Crafting & Gathering
- Crafting Quests
- Public Storefront / Auction
- Individual Based Crafting Nodes.
- Crafting Tutorial
- Recipes as Loot
- Teachable Recipes (Master & Apprentice System)
- Personalized Crafted Items (Crafted by)
- Rare High Value Resources
- Recipe Data Feed (XML, JSON, CSV)
- Discoverable Crafting
Things to Think About
Kindness is Contagious
A long time ago in DAOC, a lad by the name of ROAC helped me out by crafting my first set of gear to get me started. He even gave me a decorative cloak. On the items, it said “Crafted by ROAC”. This gave me a single point of reference to contact him if I ever had any questions. Today 15 years later I still remember that kind gesture and have made it a point to continue it. In RIFT I crafted bags for new players and let them know they can contact me at any time if they have questions. All of the bags I sent had my name on them so it was easy for them to find me and message me.
Just as if you smile at someone, 9 times out of 10 you’ll get a smile in return, kindness is the same. A random act of kindness can change the tone of someone’s day and encourage further actions of kindness by them as well. The more a developer can do to encourage random acts of kindness and reward them the closer and more friendly their player community will become.
Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot, and Ultima Online raised a generation of MMO savvy players. At the time, those games were largely populated with teenagers and young adults. Now nearly 2 decades later, those teenagers are in their late 30’s and early 40’s. Time is not as plentiful as it once was and many have families, careers and obligations.
These players are the ones that subscribed to games, committed to games, and had longevity in their dedication. We waited hours for bosses to spawn, were severely punished for dying and we still came back day after day to play.
Today’s modern MMO players can’t stick with the same game more than a month, want everything for free, and care more about instant gratification than they do about the journey. Sure the younger crowd might have more time to play, but they also have shorter attention span than those that committed years out of their life to the same game.
It’s important that you retain the classic gamers and ensure that they are able to enjoy your game in bite sized adventures that fit their busy schedules.
- Drop In/Drop Out Content
- Able To Complete In Under An Hour.
- No Casual Punishment (mandatory play)
- Looking For Group Tool
- Method of Fast Travel
- Port to a Friend
- Individual Storyline
Exploration & Cartography
In every guild there is a Marco Polo, a Magellan, a Leif Erikson. For players like myself, Earth has been explored, everything has nearly been discovered, there isn’t much left for a young adventurer to find in our world outside the digital space. So we look to virtual worlds to fill that need to explore and discover places unseen. We also live in a social media generation where every discovery is posted on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Explorers take pictures, we make movies, we capture our discoveries. These can be used both as promotion for the game and as memorable moments in gaming.
Creating far off hidden reaches, landmarks, and beautiful scenic places can captivate explorers and create a shareable adventure with others. Rewarding players for seeking out these hidden treasures can help encourage players to see the world around them. Give them a reason to look into every corner of a cave. There’s nothing more exhilarating than jumping down a well to find a hidden area filled with adventure and loot.
- X/Y Coordinates
- Static Location Based Rewards.
- Discoverable Treasure Chests
- Linkable Map Locations
- Hidden locations only accessible by solving puzzles and riddles.
- Static Crafting Nodes
- Map Completion Bonuses
- Landmarks to aid in navigation
- First in the World / Server Achievements for discoveries.
- Map sharing - The ability to share your discoveries with others.
While this group has shrunk over the years and roleplayers are harder to find than not, we still hold true to our roots and encourage roleplay among friends. Just as many of us began sitting around a table with a dice in hand, roleplay still is alive and well among those who cherish it. It’s important that these people are not forgotten and continue to have the tools needed to thrive in game worlds.
- Local Chat Channels (say)
- Backstory Available out of Game
- Custom Chat Channels
- In depth guide to the lore
- Roleplay Servers / Flags
- Usable objects
- Published Books Available
- Costumes & Town Clothes
- Joint Emotes - Linking 2 players together in an Emote. Example: /dance while targeting a player prompts the target player if they would like to dance. If they click yes the two characters interlock and dance together, if no the emote is canceled. For extra cookies, add funny reactions like /slap or /avoid to make some hilarious response interactions.
The Game System is a base set of core mechanics we look for. Our criteria is unique to our community and every guild, clan or community should look at their own requirements based on their demographic and interest.
- Fantasy Based (Swords & Shields)
- Opt-In PvP (No Ganking, No Forced PvP)
- Leveling through PvP
- International Friendly (No Region Locking)
- Aggressive Patch Schedule (2 per month min)
- Regular Patch Schedule (1 per month min)
- Additionally Available for Mac and/or Linux
- Subtitles Available (Hard of Hearing)
- Ability to modify chat size (Hard of Sight)
- Celtic / Elven / Norse Themed
- Mobile App Connectivity
- Loyalty Rewards
- Player Achievements
- First Person/Screenshot View Available
- Ability to Hide UI
- Fully voiced dialogue
- Modifiable UI
- Addons / LUA Based
- Web Based Leaderboard / Rankings
- Free/Buy To Play
- Social Integration (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube)
- Custom Chat Colors
- Custom Nameplate Colors
- API Available
- Fan Site Kit Available
The Next Step
Once we have found a game that scores a 60% or higher, we then consider it for chapter selection. A new chapter is only opened if one of our two chapters is below the minimum of 300 active players and the new title has more than 300 active players interested. Without the interest of the community a game will not become a full chapter.
While the game is in closed testing, our Gaiscioch Pioneers will investigate the game, provide feedback, find game breaking features, and provide valuable feedback to the developer team building a closer bond. In all 5 of our chapters, our players were part of early testing and helped developers find critical bugs and roadblocks. In any chapter we consider, we want to be a part in it’s success, whether that’s through helping test the game, promoting the game, or lead media worthy events within the game, we do all we can to ensure the longevity of the game and our chapter. A lot of time and money is invested in every chapter opened and it is crucial that we ensure the most enjoyable experience for everyone to make the endeavor worth it.
Planting the Seed
Once a potential chapter has been selected a seed is planted. This is a 3 month trial that monitors population and the success potential of a game. In our past, we’ve jumped into chapters pre-launch only to have the final days of beta introduce game breaking features that decimate player populations. In an effort to avoid this in the future we came up with the idea of building seeds. These are trial chapters that if successful will be turned into full chapters and gain all of the features of a full fledged chapter including full website support and community events.
If after 3 months the seed is not better off than it began, we will turn the seed into a Social Adventure and appoint members to be the guardians of the adventure. Only a seed that rises above where it began will become a full chapter. This is to ensure that we don’t commit to games too hastily and waste time building systems that will never be used.
Building a Relationship
In every game we look towards as a chapter we make a solid effort to get involved in testing, promotion, and building relationships with game developers. When we commit to a game, we commit 110%. We stream it on our livestreams, we publish it in our magazine, we write guides for it and we promote it through our social channels. Just as we want to flourish in the game, we have to ensure the game flourishes as well. This can be done by working closely with developers to ensure messaging is relayed correctly and it also allows developers to bounce ideas off us for supportive and non-biased feedback. Our longevity depends on the survival of the game. Thus it is a vested interest for us to ensure that we relay any useful information we can to help ensure it succeeds.
As you can see, opening a Gaiscioch Chapter is quite a process and not one we take lightly. With each chapter, I end up spending hundreds of hours building tools and systems to integrate with the game. This in turn raises the enjoyment of the community and helps keep us driving forward. That said, even the most engaging systems outside the game can not keep people playing a game that they don’t enjoy. At the end of the day, population always tells us where we need to be.
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About the Author
Benjamin "Foghladha" Foley
Benjamin founded the Gaiscioch Social Gaming Community in 2001 and has since been the founder & activities director for this well known community. His role has gone beyond just running the Gaming Community and now includes running the Athletics Program in Portland, Oregon, as well as acting as the Managing Editor of the Gaiscioch Magazine, and is the Lead Producer on the Gaiscioch Livestream Productions. Additionally he networks with game developers to form relationships between Gaiscioch and development studios.
His experience in publishing dates back to helping his Grandparents who operated a printing press for over 40 years. In high school and college Benjamin excelled in journalism and played an active part in the school newspaper. Benjamin currently works full time as the director of technology for a franchise trade publication & education company.