A well-organized player event can be one of the most fun parts of a Massively Multiplayer Game. However, there are several challenges that event planners face. This list is intended to help you deal the most common pitfalls.
1) Avoid Flash Crowds
Massively Multiplayer Games are meant to have lots of people playing together, however the reality of the Internet is that the more people you have, the greater potential there is for server latency (commonly called lag). We recommend that you try to limit your events to fewer than 50 people in one area. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to have your events take place away from commonly traveled locations like the Starport of Coronet.
2) Be aware of Network Latency
Expanding on the above, latency can also have other effects on your event. A common misconception about Internet games is that what appears on your screen is EXACTLY what appears on another person's machine. The SWG servers try very hard to sync up players' computers, but there is usually a little fudge factor involved. For example, if you are hosting a trivia contest and ask for players to shout out answers, you may see player A answer correctly immediately before player B; however, Player A may see his answer appear before player B's on his own computer. Secure Trades are a good way to deal with time critical events because the server must acknowledge one trade request before the other.
3) Report Griefers
Simply put, there is a small population of players who derive joy from ruining other people's fun. If you encounter one of these types trying to derail your event on purpose, type /report and ask your event attendees to use the /ignore command on the troublesome individual. Sometimes, however, a player may not realize that he or she is ruining an event. It's usually worth your while to send a nice tell or game mail requesting that they avoid doing the action during your event before you go to the CSRs.
4) Advertise, Advertise, Advertise
If no one knows about your event, chances are no one will come. In addition to using the Galaxy Forums to advertise your event, you may want to ask guilds to mail their members to get the word out. Shouting a half hour before the event in populated areas is an excellent way to attract people (I'd even recommend offering credits to other players to do your heralding for you in multiple locations). It's a good idea to send reminder game mails right before the event's starting time. Be careful not to over-advertise, though (see tip 1 about avoiding flash crowds).
5) Remember Time Zones
9 pm happens 24 times every day. Make sure you spell out exactly when your event takes place. Many people you play with may be halfway around the world. SOE provides a Time Zone Converter that you can link to. Also keep in mind that 11/10 is November 10th in places like the United States, but is October 11th in places like Europe.
6) Use Chat Channels
Chat Channels are a powerful tool to coordinate your events to keep attendees from distractions of spatial channel spam (like emotes, non-attendees chat, etc.) Please refer to the manual for instructions on how to set up a chat room. It may seem a little daunting, but once you get used to it, you'll find it very helpful.
7) Be Clear on Rules
In your event description, spell out everything that players need to know beforehand. This is especially important when it comes to contests. Try to figure out all the possible scenarios so everyone involved knows what is considered fair game and what will get them disqualified. You don't want to be making up rules during the event (if you want people to come back for another event in the future, that is).
8) Know the Game
Some events don't work as well as others because the game naturally caters to one type of character over another. For example, Rangers with Tracking 4 have a tremendous advantage over other players in games of Hide and Seek. Also be aware of enemies that spawn near your event location. That Hidden Jedi Temple may make for a picturesque ceremony, but having a Baz Nitch feasting on the bride's corpse makes for a bad wedding day.
9) Have a Contingency Plan
You may schedule your event at the same time a guild decides to raid the same area, your guest of honor may have internet connection problems or a sudden emergency that keeps them from showing up, you may get too many attendees. Always have a back-up plan to keep the event going just in case things go wrong. You can't plan for every possibility, but the more forethought and flexibility you have, the better off your event will go.
10) Have Fun
Be sure that you are having fun hosting your event. You should strive to make certain everyone who attends your event has fun, but if you don't have fun yourself it will be harder for your attendees to. Having co-hosts or smaller events are good ways of making things manageable.
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