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by The Dichromatic Mechanism of August. . 144 reads.

Basics of Region-Building [REF]

Last updated on Tuesday February 6th, 2018. If you find this dispatch helpful, please upvote.

The following explains some of the basics of region-building. Please direct any questions to August.

For when you are getting started:

1. Have a plan. Most new founders just want the power of having their own region, but that is not enough. You need to know why you are starting a region, what you want to get out of it, and what direction you want to take it in. Without a clear objective, a region is unlikely to thrive.

2. Have a theme and a purpose. This stems from #1, but rather than dealing with your own motivations as a founder, it refers to the specifics of your region. Before you visit the Found Region page, decide exactly what your region will be like, and what it will do. Will it be a roleplay hub, set in the tropics and focused on realism, limited to invited nations? Do you want a casual hangout spot consisting of your RL or pre-existing NS friends? If you are more ambitious, are you seeking a wide-appeal gameplay/roleplay hybrid with an offsite forum and as many nations as possible?

3. Find something that sets you apart. This is the most common question asked of new founders: "Why should I join your region, out of the twenty thousand in the world? What makes yours special?" Even if it is something small, like a unique form of government that you made up, or an innovative spin on roleplaying, it is crucial to have at least one thing that makes you stand out. Otherwise, new nations will pick more established regions every time.

4. Accept that nobody is going to do the work for you. This might be the most important point of all. Occasionally, you may get lucky and find someone willing to throw lots of effort into your region, but that is not terribly common. After all, new regions are a risk, and the overwhelming majority of them never pan out. Founders who are dedicated to their regions from the beginning usually find success, and after a while, can sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor as the region runs itself. Founders who want a big region simply handed to them usually quit the game out of frustration.

For when you are recruiting:

1. Actually recruit. It may seem obvious, but many people seem to think they can skip this step, or get lazy with it (see #4 above). There are three kinds of telegram recruiting, which is the only reliable method. Manual gets the best results when done effectively, but is the most time-consuming. API usually gets good results, but requires access to an internet-connected computer or server capable of running a script at all hours. Stamps are the easiest, but the most costly in a monetary sense. It is possible to combine methods, which may be the most effective tactic for some regions.

2. Spend some time on your telegram. Read some telegrams from successful regions, and without copying anything directly, design one that encapsulates the spirit of your region and is enticing to new players. Once you have one that is satisfactory, read it over six times, then read it again. Having typos, poor English, broken links, factual errors, or other obvious mistakes is embarrassing and reflects poorly on your region. Avoiding those is an easy way to improve the return on your telegram.

3. Avoid cliches in your pitch. Countless regions claim to be "small, so you can easily get involved!" or "having no restrictions on ideology, so you will have lots of freedom!" Such statements can work when used in moderation, but if your entire message could be applied to any of the world's ten thousand single-nation regions, you may want to spice it up a little.

4. Think about who you want in your region. Recruiting messages are not just how new players choose what region is best for them, they are how your region chooses what players are best for it. Do you want political intellectuals and history buffs? Go ahead and craft an eloquent invitation sprinkled with factual references, but realize that your population will not grow very quickly. On the other extreme, you may want to write a silly message with lots of memes and asterisk RP (*blinks at u*). This will appeal to more people and your region will probably explode, but a community built on a foundation of spam is unlikely to last very long.

For when you are mostly established:

1. Be prepared for surprises. As a founder, especially in a big region, you are likely to encounter things that the Found Region page never mentions. If you build a strong enough relationship with your community, you may find yourself presented with the struggles and private details of people's lives, and you may be asked for advice or solidarity. You may not be equipped to deal with all such cases, but do not be startled when the human element of the game emerges in profound ways.

2. Be professional, and at the same time, stay consistent with your theme. Is your region a serious one? Maintain your bearing, or you risk losing credibility, but avoid being so stiff that you discourage outside interaction with your region. Is your region silly, or casual? Those are also fine, but decide early on where to draw the line, and stay as close to it as possible. Excessive silliness and immaturity when dealing with others can be just as off-putting as excessive stiffness.

3. Watch the successful ones and see how they do it. If you see a good idea, use it, and always err on the side of asking permission. Of course, it is best to be as original as possible, but seeking inspiration from well-established regions can be beneficial. Signing up on other regions' forums, taking a stint in a foreign government, or trying out some other types of play (roleplay, gameplay, debate, politics, issues, etc) can make you more well-rounded, which will carry through to your region's development.

4. Retention is just as important as recruitment. From the moment a new player enters your region, do your best to keep them engaged. Make yourself available, provide activities and advancement opportunities, and show them that this game is worth playing. Never treat a single player as a number, or that is all they will be, until the day they cease to exist and the number drops by one.

5. Promote talent. When an enthusiastic, motivated player falls into your lap by some miracle, do not let them slip away. If you do not capitalize on their potential to contribute, they will leave for other regions or quit out of boredom. Even if there are no open positions in your government, or you disagree with an idea they present, make a new position for them, or help them modify the idea. A single contributing player is worth more to a community than a hundred inactives.

6. Be prepared for frustration. You will run into some mind-blowing things as a founder, from players convincing themselves that you are actually a computer program, to those who appear genuinely illiterate. Sometimes it is best to cut your losses with a frustrating player who seems to be operating on a separate wavelength from you, before you waste too much time. Players will ignore you, players will fail to follow the simplest directions, and you will probably grow a healthy sense of cynicism about your fellow man. Try to look past it and spend your time and efforts on the promising ones.

7. Appearances matter. When judging a region at a glance, people look at the population, RMB activity, and delegate endorsements. Those three numbers can clearly illustrate the difference between a thriving community and a dead puppet dump. Nobody likes puppet regions, especially enormous, useless ones, so avoid allowing your region to look like one by promoting WA activity and RMB posting. Also on the subject of appearances, put effort into your color choices and graphics. Bright yellow World Factbook Entries and poorly-designed flags make your region look unprofessional, and will turn away new players.

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Created by August. Do not reproduce, in whole or in part, without explicit permission.

The Dichromatic Mechanism of August