My server is declining, now what?

I’m not trying to sound like your dad but, there comes a time in every server owners life where you will experience periods (not those..) of player inactivity. This is not something to panic or feel bad about. In this article, we will discuss what might cause this and what you can do to get some (new) players back. Let’s get to it shall we?

Calm down

A common reaction to a decline in player count is applying drastic changes to your server in order to “get them back”. My advice to you is to hold off on that, there is a reason why all of those people joined your server and have been sticking around before. Let’s say you normally been having around 32 players the last couple of weeks but recently have been only getting 16 during peak times. You gotta take a step back and try out to find why. Don’t jump the gun and change things up just yet. Imagine you as a player coming back to your favorite server only to find out everything has been changed.

Identifying the cause

By finding out the cause you will get a better understanding of both the lack of players and your community in general. Here are some key steps you can go through in order to get information:

    • Put yourself in the player’s perspective.
      Ask yourself the following question “Why haven’t I been playing here? “
    • Keep an eye on your competition.
    • Have your players moved to a different server?
      If so, try to find out why and see where you can improve your server.
    • Have you applied changes to your server recently?
    • See if a new game just got released.
      I remember the day when GTA 5 came out.. our server looked like a wasteland for 1 / 2 weeks
    • And the most obvious one, ask your players!
      Besides you getting to know why your server has been declining, your active players will also feel “valued” and “involved” with the server.

Find a pattern

By keeping a close eye on your community and its server you will be able to spot (activity) patterns. Try to collect as much data as you can so you can make a prediction of when the next “dip” might arrive and work on how to intercept it (if possible). In the case of a new game being released its best to just sit back and wait it out. If they like your server and community they will be back. The best thing you can do is stimulate “your players” to come back at the same time by hosting a special event for example.



Intercept

Now that you have identified the cause for your recent player loss it’s time to get back on track. I can’t give you a clear solution since every situation requires a different approach but I will give you some pointers which can be applied to all scenarios.

    • Most importantly, keep an open conversation with your community
    • If your current players are “bored”, focus on attracting new ones
    • Advertise, advertise, advertise
      Yes I know, this isn’t one of the most fun jobs to do but boy oh boy, it’s very important
    • Get yourself and your staff on the server as much as possible
      As we all know “random” players mostly join when there are at least X amount of players on your server (depending on the game(mode))
    • Treat the (new) players with respect and they will stick around
    • Host special events
      Events can be organised both in-game as well as via social media/Discord/Forums (Example: host a giveaway)
    • Invite your friends
      Sounds cliché right? trust me, it works!

By doing all of this you will get players back and remain relevant. “Did he just said relevant?” I sure did! Nowadays sticking to one community is getting old fashion, let alone trying to start a new community from scratch. Only some of you are able to sit back, relax and wait it all out, but if you are reading this article, big chance you will have to put in some work to get the players back.

New server/community?

Are you just starting out? Then it’s perfectly normal that your server is empty (as it should). You (and your team) will need to put in some work to get players to join your server. We all know that one great evening on your server can be the deciding factor for your players!
Tips on how to start a new community/server will be discussed in a future article as well as tips on how to attract players to your newly launched server. So for you guys, more information will follow!

About Syff

Founder of Angry-Mob.com, keeping your game community up-to-date with articles, guides, interviews & more! Besides Angry-Mob I currently am employed as a SEO/SEA specialist and (web) designer. You can find all my projects on my portfolio: https://Rokbock.nl