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Making your Settlement Viable - Recruiting

Ryan Dancey
Players,

Lots of great feedback has been created by the notes for the 4.0 release to the Test Server this week. One of the things I've taken away from that conversation is the need to provide some suggestions to the community about recruiting.

Settlements are designed to be hubs for hundreds of players. Companies are designed to be hubs for dozens of players. Parties are designed to be ad hoc gatherings of a small group of players.

As we begin Early Enrollment we know that all of these groups are smaller than their design. One of the objectives of Early Enrollment is to grow the player population and to grow the number of people in the Company and Settlement structures.

We need your help to do that.

If you are a member of a Settlement you should be thinking continuously about recruiting new players to the game and bringing those new players into your Settlement activities. You have access to something that is incredibly valuable and that will be the focus of intense competition and activity in the years to come, and all you have to do now is tell people you have it and welcome them to your groups. The idea of being able to build a Kingdom in a fantasy world as cool as Golarion is going to be something a lot of people will be interested in.

This week we gave you a powerful tool to help recruiting - the Free Trial / Buddy Program.. This enables you to give someone a chance to experience the game without cost, meaning they have no real barrier to entry. And the only way to get those free trials is from an active account which means that everyone who gets one also has a connection of some kind with someone who is already playing the game. Those recruits are in the social network of Pathfinder Online as soon as they start play.

Getting Your Message Ready

We will help you communicate, but we need your help too. We have two primary places that I need to ask you to pay attention to.

First, you will notice that we have removed the "Land Rush" item from the Pathfinder Online menu at the top of the screen, and we've replaced it with a List of Settlements. That list could use your help to improve it. First, I'd like to have a bit more descriptive text for each Settlement - perhaps 3 or 4 sentences would be the most (we don't want to overload people with info). Second, the hyperlink for each of those Settlements should go somewhere that is focused on recruitment. Some kind of landing page that will help you explain to potential recruits why they should want to join your Settlement, and what your in-game objectives are, and how to connect with your Settlement community. I need the leaders of the Settlements to create those pages, and then let me know what the URLs are so I can update the listing accordingly.

Second, everyone gets a "Welcome to Pathfinder Online" email a day or two after they make their first character. That email has a section which is dedicated to the Settlements and right now it is just a list of names. What I would like to do is turn it into something like a lightweight version of the Settlement website page. I would like a "tweet" length description of each Settlement, and I will also use the link to the Settlement recruiting page described above.

Those landing pages need to have a very visible very prominent primary point of contact with an email address so people can easily and quickly communicate with a real human to ask questions and make a connection!

Showing Activity And Raising Interest

Settlements are social first, game mechanics second. The thing people ask about most often in MMOs is how to be a part of a fun, interesting social group. It can be hard to figure out how to make a connection with a group. We want to help you show the world all the interesting stuff that you are doing.

Lisa is going to be collecting news from as many Settlements as she can. You can email her (lisa.stevens@paizo.com) with your news updates. We will blog about them regularly - once or twice a month - and we'll highlight them in email messages we send to everyone in our subscriber email list (over 10,000 people!) We need short, pithy, news items and ideally we'd like you to tell us about your plans in advance. Letting us know that you're planning to tackle and Escalation on such and such a date means we can help you use that as an entry point for recruiting!

Talk to the World about Pathfinder Online

I believe there are a million people in North America and Europe who want to play a fantasy sandbox MMO (and several million more who would like to play such a game but don't know what it is yet). The population of potential players for Pathfinder Online is enormous. And you are our best evangelists.

You need to think about recruiting outside of the Paizo/Goblinworks community (though there are still a lot of people in that community who are likely excellent recruits!) I strongly encourage you to think about spending some time recruiting in the wider MMO on-line landscape. That is where you are going to find fertile ground.

To help, I've composed a list of places where I encourage you to actively recruit. I'm really interested in other suggestions to add to this list - the bigger the footprint we have the more likely we are to reach our recruiting goals!

Other MMOs

Clearly the most fertile ground for recruiting is going to be within the communities for other MMOs, particularly sandbox MMOs. We are good friends with a lot of the people who make those games and we don't want to be discourteous to them. So we don't actively recruit or try to advertise on their sites or services directly. As players you have more leeway than we do as competitors. We certainly don't encourage you to bomb their forums with recruiting posts, but it is totally appropriate to respond to the many threads that always appear in those communities for people asking about other games.

Social Media

Please like, if you have not already, our Facebook page. We encourage you to post recruiting messages to that page. Facebook is designed to foster the "sharing" of a social context. When you interact on Facebook with Goblinworks, your social network can become engaged as well. When you see a message from our Facebook page, please "Like" that post as well. The more people who "Like" a post, the more people Facebook will show it to. "Likes" are how Facebook determines that a post is newsworthy.

When you post to Facebook, if you reference @goblinworks we will often see it, and we'll "Like" your posts too, which will help you increase the number of people who see your messages.

Please follow, if you have not already, @Goblinworksinc on Twitter. On Twitter, we like to use the hashtag #pathfinderonline and we encourage you do to that too. One nice thing about following our Twitter feed is that you'll see Ideascale ideas that get more than a minimum threshold of votes which is a great way to see those new ideas as they enter the pipeline. You'll also get notified when we post a blog or make a new release! Retweeting our tweets to your followers helps us expand our footprint. When you tweet and use the #pathfinderonline hashtag or when you use @Goblinworksinc in your tweet, we'll see it and retweet your message to our followers which gives you added visibility too!

Reddit

Reddit is the most active and most influential news aggregator on the web. Reddit transmits cool sites and interesting content to a network of highly engaged web-savvy users who in turn tend to rebroadcast to their social networks. We need to get more presence on Reddit. However Reddit is a community-driven site that doesn't want to pollute its pages with simple advertising. We respect that and we want to work within Reddit's culture.

One way we can do that is for you, our players, to get engaged with discussions on Reddit in an organic, natural way. There are three significant places you can do that:

  • /r/Games where people talk about videogames of all kinds.
  • /r/MMORPG where people talk about MMOs in particular.
  • /r/PathfinderOnline where people are talking about Pathfinder Online in particular.

If you have not used Reddit before, do take a few minutes to read the contents of these groups and get a feel for what is and is not an acceptable way to interact. It is great to comment on other people's threads and upvote great posts and comments. You can also start your own threads when you have something useful for the Reddit community to see. Recruiting posts for Settlements are probably something you should do very infrequently, but putting a link to your Settlement landing page in your comments is a fantastic idea.

MMO News and Information Sites

These are really fertile ground for recruiting and for raising awareness. A huge number of MMO players congregate at these sites and love to interact and debate the latest trends in the genre. I'd love to see our community take more of an active role in these conversations. Be aware that many, many more people read these threads than post in them, so when you're talking about your Settlement and talking about the game you are having an impact you cannot see, and that is often much different than the tone and tenor of the other remarks in those venues.

Here are my favorites:

MMORPG.com - especially the Pathfinder Online section!. Also, MMORPG's "Hype" list has a lot of cache and seeing Pathfinder Online move up those rankings will be a huge boost to our efforts and yours! MMORPG has always been incredibly supportive and I often am invited to speak at their "Future of MMO" panels at Pax - in fact, I'll be doing that next month!

Massively Overpowered is the new site from the people who used to run the Massively site in the Joystiq network. Same editorial team, same focus, now operating independently. (They're Kickstarting, and I encourage you to see their pitch). Massively has been one of our longest, and best supporters, featuring info about our game regularly for the whole time we've been in development.

Ten Ton Hammer has been a successful place for us to interact with MMO fans and we had a very good response from advertising and editorial with them during our Kickstarter. You can see from their current content page for Pathfinder Online that we have a lot of work to do to raise our awareness with the Ten Ton community and you can help with that!

General Videogaming News and Info

Outside of MMO-specific sites there are several sites that are an excellent place to find MMO enthusiasts to recruit:


In General

My advice is to always be very courteous, and don't engage in debates with people about issues outside of the things you can control. You will win more converts with humor and modesty than by being a "Forum Warrior". Have a great pitch for why your Settlement is a great group of people to play with and make yourself easily accessible for communication (always leave a contact email or web site in your posts!)

We want to help you as much as we can. Please let us know what you need from us to help your recruiting efforts and we'll do our best to accommodate you. Your feedback is essential to fine-tuning this system. Please share your successes with the community so that others can benefit as well - this is not a zero-sum game; seeing one Settlement recruiting well doesn't mean the other Settlements are being hurt. The rising tide lifts all boats!
Caldeathe Baequiannia
Since the list order no longer represents anything real, perhaps we could have it sorted alphabetically or by some other system?
To reach me, email d20rpg@gmail.com
Ryan Dancey
Yes, I need to sort it alphabetically. That's on my to-do list.
Azure_Zero
Nice.

And Ryan I did a quick Linux test and Yes, PFO runs on Linux, though the patcher does not.
Ryan Dancey
That's so interesting!
aussiedwarf
Pathfinder running on linux. Thats exciting! I won't hold my breath but I would be interested in that.
Elder of Forgeholm
Owner of www.pfomap.com
Contactable at aussiedwarfpfo@gmail.com
Phyllain
It would be way easier to market your open world sand box If you guys didnt keep doing thinks to make it not sandbox like. AKA making it so that killing one person takes 43 hours to recover from. God forbid you have to fight a group of people.
Giorgio
Ryan,

Very good information, I passed it on to my settlements leadership to make sure they see it. smile

How would you highlight/market PFO to a new player in a paragraph or two; hitting the key features of the game, the reason to get into the game now, and a warning of the game not finish/2 of 5 year development?

As someone that has been playing since Alpha, I have no problem getting people interested in trying this game out. My primarily difficulty is KEEPING their interest when these new players are overwhelmed with information on a very incomplete, arcane to understand, no in game way to learn info - make sense of what is going on, lack of solid in game tutorial, and #1 deal breaker is that all useful game information is from thrid party references. I know all of this will be worked on/improved over time, but the "New Player Experience" is realy bad right now, especially for non MMO players. It's a barrier, and a difficult one to overcome. Anything the team can do to make the game easier to understand, the GW forum more accessible, and the "New Player Experience" more fun, will be greatly appreciated.
First Elder Durin Steelforge; Leader of Forgeholm; Founder of Steelforge Engineering Company

PM Giorgo on Paizo Forums
PM Admin George on Commonwealth of the Free Highlands
Tink says Stab
Yeah guys, start recruiting. Here, I'll give you a pitch you can use:

"Hello friends! Do you like running about a huge, empty map, hoping to find something the least bit interesting to do, because you know fine well there isn't going to be any decent PvP unless you literally whisper the leadership of the other large group that you are about to attack? Then you should play PFO!"

I'll start bringing them subscribers when they bring my friends an experience that doesn't involve begging someone to come out and fight.
Tink quivers in sheer euphoria as the dank memes course through his fedora
Tyv Blodvaerd of Aragon
@ Ryan,

We in the UnNamed Company, and the settlement of Aragon as a whole, have made some changes to advertise our settlement and meet the game play where it is currently at, but the heavy lifting is at your end not ours.

As others have said above, if you keep inhibiting PvP, what exactly would you have these new players do once they get here? If you limit the training capabilities of the PC settlements, what will be the reasoning to leave an NPC settlement that provides all training, all crafting and auction houses to boot?

The WoT changes in EE4 run counter to everything you are asking us to do. It makes the PC settlements less viable and the game over all less appealing, because there is very little to do that is interesting.

We in the UNC have advertised our buddy tickets to players we know of in other games, and in other gaming communities. But, we will recommend to any to hold off on using the invites until there are vast improvements in game play that is interesting.

There lies the conundrum, PFO needs greater numbers to be viable, but the game won't hold many of them in its present state.

The changes we have made:

1. Our linked website is now "Aragon of Pathfinder Online" labeled, so there is little doubt what purpose the site has or what game is our (current) focus.

2. The UnNamed Company will be scaling back our pro banditry rhetoric, and wait for PFO to meet us and our game play desires. The reality is, GW has been systematically limiting PvP opportunities and the server population being as low as it is, will not support full time banditry or PvP in general.

We have been focusing on gathering, crafting and mini escalations (locally) because there is nothing else to do.

We are now playing Farmville-finder Online, all kinds of farming but no war machine to be fed.
Aragon (CN) a settlement founded on the principles of the River Freedoms: Say What You Will; Oath Breakers Die; Walk Any Road, Float Any River; Courts are for Kings; Slavery is an Abomination; Have What You Hold.

Settlement Focus: Fighter and Rogue Training
Game Play: Escalations / Refining / Crafting / Defensive PVP
 
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