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Offline Beryl

[Guide to making a successful LR server]
« on: Sep 15, 2007, 03:13 AM »
For anyone wanting to make a successful low rate server, I hope this will help or enlighten you. Feel free to contribute to the guide with your own opinions of how a successfull LR private server should be. And by LR, I mean between 1x - 7x. I don't consider anything higher than these rates a "true" LR but more of a low-mid rate server.

This guide is not about making a hardcore "close to official as possible" server but rather a successful low rate server that will appeal to the majority of low and midrate players, and also more importantly, players that are new to the game.

Introduction

These days, it's very hard to start up a successful server. I remember back in 2004/2005 when people were actually interested in Ragnarok. That is to be expected since there were a lot of new players diving into the sea that is RO Private Servers. As time passed, the new players slowly decreased. Most players consist of people that jump from server to server when things go wrong or when a server dies. As times changes, we have to adapt to those changes when making a private server. Back in the day, you could make a 3/3/2 server with minimum customization and with a bit of luck and a decent intial population, have a successful server. Nowadays, you see countless amount of LR servers. They all promise the typical "Nice, friendly, and growing community; Friendly and active GMs; balanced." But they don't really get anywhere. The population (if they even have one at all) remains stagnant after a few months and slowly decrease.

In this guide, I would like to to analyze many different aspects of a successful LR private server. An LR server that will appeal to people NOW, not in the past. Most of this is based on my opinion and past experiences playing in servers such as MobRO(old), XaosRO, ProjectRO(old), EuphRO(old), AndzRO, EtherealRO, etc.

Chapter 1: Game mechanics/Emulator

First thing that a server owner would think about are the initial specifications of the game itself (Rates, Customizations, etc). I think it is almost unanamous that 1/1/1 is an extreme grind fest. So is 3/3/x these days, sadly. 3/3/x rates used to be to be fun back in the day. About 2 - 3 years ago, there were plenty of new players comming in and 3/3/x gave them an authentic RO experience. But now, 80 - 90% of a typical server's population consists of folks that have jumped across multiple servers trying to find the safe haven, or home known as RO. And the majority of these people lean towards mid rate compared to low rate. So that leaves us to a choice of rates around 5x. It has been proven in multiple servers such as EtherealRO (5/5/2) that the further the drop rates are from Base/Job EXP rate, the funkier the economy. And anything below 3x drop rate does not go well with our vision of a successful LR server that appeals to both LR and low-mid rate crowd. So it is best to keep rates around 5/5/5 (which I belive are very good LR rates at this point in time). You may fluctuate this a bit depending on what you think would be better.

Now, it's the age old question. Are customizations that deviate from official settings a good or bad thing? After all, Gravity has designed many aspects of this game around their 1/1/1 rates. Unless you are very experienced in virtual economy or game mechanics, it is wiser to stay close to the official settings. That being said, there are plenty of customizations you can do that will not have too much of a negative impact the economy/game. A few examples would be a quest based teleport NPC, stylist, very limited reset NPC, etc. More customizations will attract low-mid rate players but at the cost of having more of an unstable server depending on how darastic these changes are and less appeal from LR players. Examples of darastic changes are card unslot NPCs, custom gears, etc.

A lot of servers prioritize certain aspects of the game (WoE/PvP/PvM). While this depends on the what kind of server the owner want to make, the purpose of this guide is to make a successful server that attracts a wide variety of people and continue bringing more people in. In order to do that, you must enhance all aspects of the game and not focus on just one thing. For PvP, you can devise a ranking system and reward people who are top rankers. For example, the top 10 or so PvPers will have a 20% bonus damage in PvP. Disabling certain things like using items in PvP can also enhance the overall PvP experience. For MvP, you can have a ladder. Instead of ranking people just based on how many times they killed a monster, you can set a certain amount of points they get depending on what MvP. In this case, Thanatos would be worth much more than a GTB ranking wise. WoE is already an important part of the game so it shouldn't require much enhancements.

Now that we have the basic game mechanics down, its time to decide an emulator: eAthena, decision over. You will be shooting yourself in the foot by going Aegis. Not only is it more expensive to manage, you don't have as much flexibility, and a majority of players don't care if your server is Aegis or eAthena. Especially new players. 3 years ago, Aegis might have been a viable choice, but things are different now.

Chapter II: Website/Advertising/Initial Population

A professional looking website and forum is pretty much a staple these days. Not only does this show that you have the financial backing to keep the server up, but it will also attract the maximum variation of players. The last thing someone would want is to play on a shady looking, add supported, and free hosted website/forum.

I highly recommend that you do not start a server unless you have a decent initial population. Start advertising well ahead before the server goes live. Advertise everywhere you can, ratemyserver/gamesites200/xtremetop100/rotop100. If you have access to an email database of online gamers, mass email them(Be professional ofcourse.) Advertise in general gaming places to attract new players. Dedicate people to advertise the server even after the server goes live. The higher the population, the better the gaming experience for all in general.

I would start doing this atleast a month ahead.

Chapter III: Keeping the players entertained
Comming soon
« Last Edit: Sep 15, 2007, 03:33 AM by Beryl »

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