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Recruiting

There is no magic trick to recruiting players. Often, attracting new players is a matter of luck. But, there are things a Game Manager can do to increase the likelihood that a potential new player will visit their sim’s website and apply.

Navigation

Writing an Advertisement
Tips and Tricks
Passive Recruiting
Choosing Where to Place Ads
Fanfiction Communities
Attention and Awards
Best Time to Actively Advertise
Advert Delegation
Your Sim’s Website

Writing an Advertisement

Some basic elements of a sim advertisement include:

  • A header to draw interest
  • Brief description of the sim that conveys the tone (lighthearted, serious) and identifies the fandom or how this sim is unique within the fandom. Keep it short and meaty.
  • A hook to entice potential players to the sim’s own website and/or discord
  • Show enthusiasm
  • It may be helpful to list a few character types, especially if the sim is atypical for the advertising space
  • A link to your sim’s website and an invite to the sim’s discord.

The main purpose of an advertisement is to bring potential players to your web site where they can read more about it and apply to join. For inspiration, read other advertisements, and consider what it is about them that does or doesn’t draw you in and temp you to click on the links.

Tips and Tricks

Passive Recruiting

The best recruitment tool is the simplest of all: Word of Mouth. If your game is amazing, players will tell their friends, and they’ll try to bring them into the game. Likewise, if you are participating in multiple Discord servers, you may find potential players simply by networking with others. Many of us have made friends in the wider community, and while we may not always write together, we’re often inclined to join new sims that are created within our circle of contacts.

The downside to passive recruiting is two-fold. The first is that it may take a while to make your mark on the wider community. The less “well-known” you are, the longer it will take to establish your reputation. The second is, if you have developed a negative reputation, you will have a harder time attracting the type of players you might desire for your game.

The friendliest people in the community may not make for the best players either. There are plenty of popular people who are slow to participate in their own games, and there are plenty of people who don’t use Discord but are also excellent writers. Never judge a book by its cover, and give each person some time to find out if they would really be a good fit for your game.

Be aware that as a GM, you are a walking advert for your sim. So if people like what you’re talking about in an open forum (wherever they may be reading or listening to your words) then they will be far more likely to be interested in writing with you IC. Being open, approachable and not derogatory as a first impression is pretty essential. Once they know your ways a bit better, sarcasm and suchlike can be deployed more safely. Be very aware that your attitude to others, in any written or spoken form makes a lasting impression that is hard to change (impossible if they don’t talk to you at all because of it) and it is ridiculously easy to read back (or have someone else copy/paste comments) in Discord and forums even if people weren’t there for the actual conversation in real time.

Choosing Where to Place Ads

Something the wider Trek simming community does well is provide places in various groups’ discord servers for advertising. For all fandoms, there are RPG mailing lists and Discord channels too, as well as Disboard. 22nd Fleet maintains a resource page for member GMs with a list of advertising locations, look for “GM Resources” on your Fleet-site dashboard, and scroll to the bottom.

One approach is to search online to find other text-based rpgs similar to yours. Find out where those games are making their availability known, and advertise there.

Fanfiction Communities

Engage with fanfiction communities who write in the fandom of your sim. Be prepared to explain what text-based rpg is. Discord servers dedicated to fanfiction writers often provide a channel for writers to promote their current work in progress. Usually you can place an ad there, but make sure you follow the posted rules and if you’re uncertain, check in with a moderator. If in any doubt, always ask first.

Fandom Communities on social media – this might be effective, though only a fraction of a fandom community are writers, only a fraction of those writers write fanfiction, and only a fraction of those fanfiction writers are interested in text-based roleplay. Given how popular certain fandoms are though, there is always the possibility of attracting potential players.

Another approach to engaging with your sim’s fandom’s fanfiction community is to (with consent of all your players) edit one or more of your sim’s missions or story threads into an appropriate format and post it on a fanfiction site.

Attention and Awards

Awards don’t necessarily bring in new recruits, but they help make potential players more aware of your sim.

Nominate one of your sim’s JPs for the Post of the Month award on a regular basis. In theory, every fleet member who votes first reads all of the nominations. It’s a way to put your sim’s story in front of more simmers.

Your players are awesome and deserve to be recognized for their contribution to your sim. It doesn’t take much time to write an award nomination and that time is worth it! 22nd Fleet player awards bring more attention to your sim, and your players will appreciate the recognition.

Participation in recognition and award events outside 22nd Fleet can also garner attention and interest. As one regularly well-visited example – Ongoing Worlds hosts a yearly “Tournament of Simulations.”

Best Time to Actively Advertise

When your sim is in a good place to onboard newbies! Nothing is more frustrating for a new player than being accepted with a shiny new character and not being able to get involved with writing straight away. If you find yourself with a newbie in this situation, back-posts for character building are a good alternative option, but being involved in the action is a far better intro for most players.

Also be in a good place yourself, enthusiasm transfers easily through text and people react to this. Be engaging, be ready to talk through intros and bios.

Another potential good time for newbies is just after quarterly reports to the officers as this will bring attention to all the sims under their purview and may bring more interest to your site without you having to do much advertising yourself.

Most importantly, be available. Slow replies when recruiting is frustrating and a swift turn-off for new players who are keen to learn about your sim and talk characters.

It may be tempting to ask your assistant GM or another player to post ads for your sim. This can work quite well for some GMs. Many text-based rpg recruiting sites or discord servers require a minimum level of participation before an ad may be placed there, and getting a friend to place the ad might be an easy solution. Your assistant might just have better PR skills than you do or be a good source of help for a collaborative advert to be written.

There is also a disadvantage. Your advertiser now owns that ad, and if they disappear, updating or taking down the ad may be impossible. For better or worse, the reputation and advertised face of your sim is also tied to your advertiser.

Choose carefully and have more than one option in play.

Your Sim’s Website

The main purpose of an ad is to entice potential players to your sim’s website where they will hopefully learn more and be inspired to apply to join. Make sure your website is ready and welcoming to visitors. Make sure it looks professional and can at least answer the first few questions any new player will have – When is the sim set? What is the world like? What characters can they write? Are there any hard and fast rules?

Also ensure you’ve protected your own privacy with regards your personal data and that you have a clear Privacy Policy and sim rating on display.

Visitors to your sim’s website may not join right away. That’s okay. Some folks take a while to decide if a sim is right for them. They may lurk in your Discord channel or they may ask questions. If they’ve shared their contact info with you, give them a bit of time (few days up to a week) and politely nudge to see if they’re still interested or if they want any help.

And remember, your attitude and approach is key and if a new player likes what they see from your sim, they may tell their friends.

 

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to the Mentoring Committee and in particular AlphaJuliet and Greenfelt for their help in drafting this resource. ~ Sprite