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Reasons Why RP sims fail.


Borelek
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I actually agree with this theory about starting small but I remember to this day the feedback I was given when I was running RP regions. I think I've mentioned this before but can't remember, chalk it down to senility at this point *lol*. Back then the majority of players moaned that they were immediately turned off if the place was too small or not a full region. Their logic: there weren't enough things to do in small parcels. Apparently parcels or skyboxes suggested the place was noobish, clickish/cliquish, or wasn't "established" and therefor the owner wasn't completely invested (else they would send themselves broke in order to sustain the place), and it wasn't going to last (ignoring the fact that if the players themselves invested time into ANY role play region regardless of size it would establish and grow). They also refused to invest time into a place that didn't have rentals for them.

Bear in mind this was going back a few years and I have been out of the proverbial loop a while now but I am close friends with a couple of current RP region owners and the stories they tell don't sound to have changed all that much. The irony is its these same players who end up leaving a majority of regions because the place is empty or dead can't seem to correlate their desire for larger spaces being a contributing factor as to why they leave (along with excessive lag, prices, or other players to name a few). 

Personally I don't see any problem with parcels or skyboxes if there are enough players to keep the story rolling consistently. I absolutely love places that have enough detail that creates immersion, regardless of size. But again experience has shown that there are just as many if not more who don't seem to care about detail provided they have a full region to play on. At least until the place dies because everyone is standing around OOC in their rentals or having too many options so no one crosses paths.

And on the cycle continues. 😑

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Yes perhaps, but the people a small sim scares off are the people you don't want anyway or the ones that will return once you grow :)

Besides the main attraction of your sim should be the theme.
If you are looking for a historically accurate medieval place to rp (why are those so rare!) you'd rather spend your evening in a sim that is no bigger than a small Inn and a street than in a huge multi region sim that has elves, orcs and magic.

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Without wanting to blow my own horn, the Tudor London zone in the Time Portal sim is as historically accurate as I could get it.
It is open to the general public though so you may bump into people not dressing properly and finding good authentic shopkeepers is a huge challenge.

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Being too big is definitely a problem. Most rp communities struggle to fill a full region and those who try often have everything too spread out so people never meet. 

I often think it would be best to condense a region down to about half its size using things like impassable terrain (think water, mountains ect) and limit it to say a max of 40 players to keep the lag down. 

Another issue is having too many factions that require player leads. Honestly better to keep it to two clearly defined sides like Empire vs Rebels, Alliance vs Horde etc. That way people can either join the war or remain neutral. 

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Another thing I'd suggest people to consider is building to RL scale.
It takes some getting used to, especially camera wise, but if you make things according to the scale of a prim, you can fit entire city neighbourhoods into one region.
I managed to squeeze about 100 tenants in one region and the place also just feels busier, dark bars feel more dark, rare open spaces offer more enjoyment, etc.

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I think RL scaling is a problem for all of SL not just RP communities. I RP a 9 year old boy and I'm 4' 3' which is the correct size for kids that age. In RL a 9 year old is going to come up to most adult's chests or shoulders, yet in SL I don't even come up to the waists of some of the 7 and 8 foot giants!

 

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  • 2 months later...

I've been an owner of a modern urban roleplay sim since June 2017 and I will say that sim ownership is difficult and carries unique experiences that no one can prepare you for. People will try to push and change your sim to suit their needs, it just happens. I think it's good not to be a stick in the mud and try to leave room to be flexible, however it's important for sim owners to stay true to their vision and remain stable. Consider if a player asks for a change would you be willing to grant something like it to any other player which may ask you to change it? It's very important to also keep the community active with LOTS of opportunities which are pushed frequently in roleplay and group notices, otherwise stagnancy sets in. Personal ground rules are extremely important as well as constantly enforcing the standards of the sim with staff and players alike but in the same token not being TOO over reactive and for god sake be a decent human being even if you pay the tier, encourage your staff and players to be decent too.

Owning a sim is a lot of work and that player who one day purchases a full region will have difficulty if they're making a sim if they're looking to be a 'sl aristocrat' or try to wield any type of power or be too overly aggressive to players while being too lenient for others, that is how you end up with a sim that only has the owner's friends on it and nobody else. Mainly hosting a RP community is all about being welcoming, advertising, encouraging RP and events, and as owner be the player you want your players to be- lead by example, be creatively open to new ideas, creative in your build, provide areas to convene in RP that anyone can walk up to and start. Realize that yes it is indeed a financial commitment but to make sure you have varied rentals people will actually be interested in with an environment that actually feels a place one may want to live that suits their characters. Players feeling at home and 'settled' is very important for many but never depend on their rental income.

Another important aspect to consider, as sim owner your sim will have ups and downs, traffic ebbs and flows but it's your responsibility to advertise no matter what the traffic is and for the love of pete do not immediately close if the traffic ebbs, you should be expecting it already and it will be back if you put the effort in, seeing sims closing all the time is very disheartening to those players affected and I have heard many people say they lost their drive to roleplay in general due to it.  If you don't advertise often, don't hold and encourage events, don't roleplay with other players daily, or do anything to draw people to come and visit you may as well not have a sim at all, as owner don't waste your time if you don't plan on doing all of that yourself. What you do as sim owner is a labor of love, period.

Those are my 2 cents!

 

Edited by Julian Quinzet
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A lot of people here talking about the expense of paying for land, and how they spend so much money only for their sim to look the same as others.

My personal experience is that as long as you have a few well-selling marketplace listings, it's not too difficult to then go on to pay for a large parcel or a sim from marketplace sales. I would suggest getting good at creating in general. You can then create unique assets for your sim which is an extremely valuable skill and gets you into the habit of designing things in detail. Selling things to people on the market is far more profitable than renting land ever will be.

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Sure. You're literally already running a whole business and manage it. If you're bold enough, you might even wish to actucally participate in what you offer. Plus that RL crap interfereing. 

Why, that's nothing, so there's plenty of time to learn a whole new skill or three, do the marketing for it, be available for product support and bring in the L$ L$ L$. 

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If I had to pay for a region with I make with my shop my sim would last less than a month.
You'd need a proper business with plenty of sales for that, which indeed means spending lots of time regularly creating new stuff, taking part in fairs, etc.

Running an active RP sim takes a lot of time.

The only way to make sure it doesn't cost you any money is by starting small and getting a few creators to rent a shop and finding tenants to live in the houses.

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Well I mean I've been paying full sim tier for basically 5 years off just a few good products that everybody like to buy. It just takes a little bit of market research finding a niche to serve. 

I haven't paid money into SecondLife once in all the time I've run my sim but manage to meet the tier for a full sim just fine. I do have a full time job as a software engineer as well.

I've update my shop maybe 2 or 3 times a year and if your products are easy enough to use customer support is needed rarely. Never participated in a fair or done marketing just rely on word on mouth, people tend to find stuff they want by themselves. 

Maybe it's not for everyone, but to say it's not possible to do is simply not true

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Yes sure, if you happen to be a good creator who can make something that keeps selling well enough for years to pay the tier for a full sim and you don't mind sticking your profit into it, then it could work.

But to reach that is quite a lot of work and involves talent, luck and expertise, such as knowledge of 3d software.
Your case is rare and not as easy as it sounds to achieve, especially for people thinking about starting a RP sim or who are here because theirs is failing.

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The problem is most sim owners need rentals to support the sim's finances. 

Rentals by their nature encourage people to stay at home which can give the sim a dead feeling. 

So ideally, the best RP sim for actual RP would be one without rentals but most people can't afford to run a sim as purely a vanity project. 

 

 

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I've found a sim that picks up where one of my favourite old ones, that got finished off by Goreans, left off. I intend to check it out properly when I've got the time. I was reading the introductory note card and it gladdened me to see an entire paragraph reminding Goreans that this place is not Gor and Gor rules don't apply. There was far too much "oh we still love you, Goreans, please come here" for my liking, but I appreciate that you need to be welcoming to people if you want traffic and activity. Just very pleased to see that they're obviously looking back to how the Goreans killed it off last time and trying to avoid a repeat. I hope it works. 

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  It fails because of poor management decisions, insufficient advertising,  money issues and lack of interest.  I have seen so many urban roleplay sims close within 6 months of starting.   It is like a business.  You need  to have some business sense not just a roleplayer who plays in the sim. to keep it running and a bunch of RL money.  I am willing the bet the guy who is the owner of Crack Den does not rp in the sim

Edited by ballparkdogg
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You don't need a bunch of money, you need enough to rent a bit of land, upload a few textures and buy a few bits and bobs.
Just start small.

I've owned 1920s Berlin for over a decade, I still roleplay in it pretty much every single day.

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On 8/11/2019 at 9:55 AM, Borelek said:

First of all, a FANTASTIC post.

3. RP structure

  • lots of required classes kill morale
  • required mentoring is similarly a morale killer. People want to play, not endlessly prepare to play.
  •  Too much structure makes people feel gagged and bound.
  • Too little structure makes people feel lost.
  • I recommend a lore that is sufficiently general to allow for guest creativity within reasonable parameters.

You are SO on the nose with this! I spent too much time in a Gorean sim which had all those things. There were quizzes and roleplay tests and it freaked me out every time I had to take one. I completed everything, but then left shortly afterwards. It just wasn't fun. 

 

Edited by Tex Monday
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I don't think it is entirely fair to assume when a RP community fails it is entirely on the staff's shoulders. As someone mentioned previously, players are a fickle group and there are a lot of places to pick from. I feel something that would help the RP community is if sims, and players would be more of a community. Network things, take a page out of comic books. Your Urban/Supernatural sim does not need to be in competition with the other Urban/Supernatural sims. You have werewolves and vampires, so does the other place. So why not work together and say, "This sim and the other sim are sister cities," work on joined events. The same for Urban/Modern sims, Metropolis and Gotham were in the same state as each other.

 

Players will always chase the new and shiny, second life lends itself easily to the instant gratification monkey in our brains. I think the feeling of exclusiveness that the overall community have causes places to fall. 

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  • 1 month later...

Wonderful comments. So many good points. I agree with those who said my list is my personal take. How can it be otherwise?

I like how many of you identified players and admins or owners who identify unhealthily with their RP Character, taking IC rejection or insults in a very RL personal way. On the flip side, I have met people who live and love through their character and can quickly become toxic in a romantic attachment that was begun purely IC and in which that was stated up front and agreed to. The mental condition of RL living inside your RP character is called Virtual Factitious Disorder or VFD and is a recently recognized type of mental illness. I include a link to a brief summary of this, which I wrote on my author website: https://drakemalexanderaut.wixsite.com/home/post/virtual-factitious-disorder.

My original post was written during a time, when I was smarting from too many painful RP experiences. Since writing this post, I have grown a lot from reflecting upon 8+ years of RP experience on SL and all I have learned from it. I might now boil down success on an RP sim to a few very simple positively-stated principles and likely not mention some of the more personal preferences or peeves I listed in the original post:

  • Make it beautiful, immersive and fun with plenty of room for creativity within a consistent general framework of lore and race/class structure.
  • Build a warm, inclusive, very kind, emotionally safe and respectful OOC community
  • Model and encourage good practices of character definition and development.
  • Stimulate and develop, by example, intensely interactive, content-rich meaningful and highly creative RP.

Most of the rest of my original post is truly a matter of my personal taste, reeling from personally painful experiences, or very specific, even trivial. But I am glad it stimulated such wonderful input from so many people.

Thank you.

 

Edited by Borelek
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