What makes new players stick, and what drives them away

RhazhBash

Member
Legacy
Hey it's your local washed up ex admin here with another unformatted staffing guide. This one is public since I can't post in staff discussion anymore. I won't let my rank stop me from saying what'll help the staff grow the server.

TTT might be a dying game, but it isn't a dead game. There's still plenty of people who join random servers when they get home because they just wanna play the game. As long as the game is alive, AHG needs to do everything in their power to get those new players to stick with this server. In my tenure as admin I had a theme of recruiting new players in a lot of my staff discussion posts, but I never made a post specifically dedicated to it. I've been thinking about getting the server off the ground for a bit and I wanted to share those thoughts in this post.

I got back into SGM a few months before COVID hit, and in the time between then and now I noticed some trends among the staff I considered detrimental to new player recruitment. A lot of them I touched on already, but some I want to repeat some while also bringing up new issues. A few of my ideas were controversial among the staff, but I still believe that they were the best for growing SGM and that they'll be the best for growing AHG. I'm going to focus on TTT for this post but these ideas can be transferred to any other games AHG branches out into in the future.

The first thing I wanna talk about is the staff's mindset towards non staff. I've heard a few staff say that most of the players on the servers are trolls/loopholers/slur spammers/etc, but this is one of the most toxic things a staff member could think. It only looks like that because the troublemakers are the players they notice the most. A lot of TTT players don't even use their mic, and from my experience the quiet players usually follow the rules. As an admin I kept in mind that the players I didn't notice were the good players, and that led me to pick up 3 amazing mods in Reda-Lex, Firemac, and Ahalan. If the staff assume everyone they don't know is there to cause trouble then players are gonna wanna stay away from them, and by extension AHG. Staff should never assume a player is toxic until the player does something to earn that label.

So now that we have the mindset towards new players covered, let's get into the mind of one and think about what makes people stick with a server. The main people AHG should focus on are people who haven't found a community. Some people might be fed up with their current community, but getting those people to switch is rare and largely out of anyone's control. "Server hoppers", as I like to call them, are the main people to try to recruit. When you first started playing TTT, why did you join servers? It was probably because you wanted to play TTT. For most of us we just picked whatever server was at the top of the browser and got on without regard for the community. Most of them have seen the problems with your average server. Gimmick weapons with no lasting appeal (Headcrab launcher, Nyan cat gun, Bass cannon, etc), broken player models that look out of place, staff that have no regard for the objective, and plenty of other problems. Think about what you saw on your first day of SGM/AHG and why you wanted to keep playing there. I still remember why I added STTT East to my favorite servers. I loved the M9K weapons, I thought frag grenades were a great addition, I liked the perks in the pointshop, and I could tell that playing TTT was the main focus of the server. People don't become part of a community after their first time on their server, so making them come back to play is the first step to getting a new shoutbox regular.

Since gameplay is what a new player cares about the most, the objective should always come first. This might seem obvious, but issues can come up when staff mess around too much. In the early days of SGM, abusing your power or intentionally RDMing as staff would get you demoted on the spot, and if you had to ask why you'd get laughed at. This might seem insane nowadays, but those early days were arguably the peak of SGM, and I'm starting to understand the advantages of the strict rules for staff. The server was called Serious TTT for a reason, and when players got on they knew they wouldn't have to deal with staff getting in the way of gameplay. Highwon did that specifically in response to the issues he had with Not a Crappy TTT server, and it paid off when SGM outlasted NACTS. He experienced those gripes firsthand and set out to make a server without any of that. Nowadays you have posts like this one showing that people can't even agree on whether staff should be allowed to RDM or abuse. I know it seems harmless, but new players won't like it if staff show no regard for the objective. If a mod RDMs another mod as a joke the innocent team is down a player, and the kill has the potential to start a chain. I strongly believe staff should never intentionally RDM or abuse in a way that interferes with the round. I've heard some staff say they've had players tell them they enjoy it when staff mess around, but this is what we call survivorship bias. They're hearing that from people who've already stuck around for a bit, and they haven't heard anything from people who left after they saw it. People are most likely to leave AHG for good in their early days, and if they do we aren't gonna hear why they left. For any game AHG branches out to, staff should ensure that players can have an enjoyable experience playing the game they came on to play regardless of whether that player intends to become a regular or not.

On the topic of gameplay it's important for staff to be involved in it. I get that staffing can make the game less fun, but if they aren't alone on a chaotic server or desperately trying to gather evidence before map change it's ok for them to put reports off until they're dead. Enjoy the game, and interact with the players. One bad habit I see from a lot of staff is talking in external voice calls while staffing. Why would a staff member talk with someone they're in game with on discord when they can do it in game and let the players join them? Players won't wanna stick if the staff hardly talk and don't seem like they're having fun. The more fun players have talking to the staff, the more of them they'll get to stay. This goes hand in hand with the mindset towards players. If staff give players the benefit of the doubt before assuming the worst from them it'll be way easier to interact with players. If staff use their text/voice chat for more than just staffing, they'll help the players have a good time on the server, and they'll have more fun themselves.

I want to see AHG grow. I may not have the time or motivation to play TTT all day, but I still wanted to write this. It's something for staff to think about and discuss behind the scenes to make the server as appealing as possible for new players. I know I'm guilty of a lot of the things I've put in this post, but knowing your shortcomings is the first step to fixing them. I hope that this post can help get the staff geared more towards community growth and that it pays off. Remember that it doesn't take much to get a new player to leave. If they see one thing they don't like they're gonna bail before they see what all AHG has to offer. There's more to consider regarding new players than what I put in this post, but this is easily my longest staffing essay yet and I didn't want it to drag on too long.
 

Lunar

8:00 PM
VIP
Legacy
This is actually super good wtf
 

Captain K9

Wanderer
VIP
Legacy
This is a very good and thorough summary and I thank you for sharing your thoughts rhazh, I've always tried to be a "mod of the people" per say, while I enforce rules I also enjoy being just as interactive with the playerbase as I was before becoming staff, it's been a bit hard acclimating to becoming more professional but I generally manage to tick most of the boxes you set, also unrelated but man I miss firemac, I had some fun times with him, excellent post altogether.
 
Last edited:

Kythol

mama's moppings this pizza's got toppings
Prestigious
Legacy
When you first started playing TTT, why did you join servers? It was probably because you wanted to play TTT. For most of us we just picked whatever server was at the top of the browser and got on without regard for the community. Most of them have seen the problems with your average server. Gimmick weapons with no lasting appeal (Headcrab launcher, Nyan cat gun, Bass cannon, etc), broken player models that look out of place, staff that have no regard for the objective, and plenty of other problems. Think about what you saw on your first day of SGM/AHG and why you wanted to keep playing there. I still remember why I added STTT East to my favorite servers. I loved the M9K weapons, I thought frag grenades were a great addition, I liked the perks in the pointshop, and I could tell that playing TTT was the main focus of the server.
for me, the main reason why i stayed was because there were some really awesome people, like Zabiba, Eduardo, and Magafe

ty for basically saying what i've been thinking for a while now, never been able to put it into words
 

RhazhBash

Member
Legacy
for me, the main reason why i stayed was because there were some really awesome people, like Zabiba, Eduardo, and Magafe

ty for basically saying what i've been thinking for a while now, never been able to put it into words
Zabiba did nothing wrong
 

Lunar

8:00 PM
VIP
Legacy
Tl;dr staff are ruining the server for eveyone and AHG should become the oldest anarchy TTT server.
I let people fuck around if I'm really fucking bored or really fucking tired. That's when I solo staff only so if I'm on by myself you can yell out multiple racial slurs and mass rdm and ghost and hack
 

PwnageKO

"I'll be seeing you on the forums."
VIP
Legacy
Personally, and with zero bias, I believe players solely choose to keep playing on AHG because they can't stand to be away from me. That. Or we're all just somehow trapped in one of those infinite time loop situations you might have heard about?

 
Top