Interview: Harland from Werwulf Gaming

It’s time for another interview once again! This time I had a little chat with Harland who is the founder of Werwolf Gaming. This Garry’s Mod community was founded back in February 2014 and currently has 6 game servers running and over 12.000(!) Steam group members. While Werwolf Gaming primarily focuses on roleplay servers, they also host a Jailbreak and Deathrun server. Since this community has been around for some years and has a loyal playerbase, I was eager to Harland’s story!

Hey Harland, thanks for doing this interview with us! How are you doing today?

I am doing well thank you! It’s a pleasure I’m always open to discuss my Community with the public.

Can you tell me a bit on how you and [W-G] got started?

When I first got into Garry’s Mod in my early years, I was predictably a massive DarkRP fan. I used to play on a community called GizmoandSmudge and had done for about 2 years until it closed. I reached one of the Super-Admin ranks and learnt a lot of lessons from the staff team there that would help me to build up W-G. When Gizmoandsmudge closed due to funding issues I decided to start my own DarkRP server with a few friends.

It’s success was mild, and our real first break through with unique game modes came though when I opened up a Vietnam TDM server (127 slots), this rose to rank 2 in the world in a number of weeks.

You’ve got quite a collection of game servers running, what can you tell me about them?

We have quite a variety of servers, each server is uniquely different and has its own story. Although we have about 6 servers. However unlike most communities, we like to build up servers step by step and avoid having too many unfilled servers. Some of these servers that we host have been here since the launch of the Community and is still here, while others have died off.

The different gamemodes are:

Star Wars RP
Star Wars RP is based around the Star Wars universe, it contains multiple regiments for people to join and roleplay in, we have daily events and map switching events, where they go to different maps or play different scenarios. It is heavily lore-based and is all about enjoying and playing in the Star Wars universe.

World War 2 RP
World War 2 is based in Berlin and is a role playing field for people interesting in History. We have a massive amount of regiments from the German Country back in World War 2 and it is heavily lore-based. You have to know your history or at least some knowledge of World War 2 to get this server and enjoy it to its full potential.

SCP RP
The SCP Universe is about a secret world in modern life where different organizations – the Foundation, the GoC, the Church of the Broken God, etc – rush to try and find and contain anomalous objects or creatures called SCPs. They use different methods, and for different reasons, ranging from trying to keep humanity safe to maximizing profits by selling the strange objects. There are multiple storylines to help cultivate the hundreds of different ideas people have about the universe.

This was a description I found for the gamemode which describes it best. It is basically a server for people who love creepy and scary creatures, it is heavily based around your imagination and it is based around the roleplay you create for yourself. For example you can have a scientist who experiments with Class D’s by throwing them into a cell with a creepy SCP to see how they would react and behave and see if they could survive, you could have the security making sure that any SCP breaches don’t happen and that any of the creatures don’t escape causing havoc in the building.

Dark RP
Although depending on what server you play on, DarkRP can be different in the jobs and how its played but this is a good description of just the default explanation of this gamemode.

DarkRP – a game mode for the popular game Garry’s Mod with the idea of a simulation of urban life. You could become a gangster and rob people or perhaps become a police officer to protect the town from outlaws. You could open a gun shop or a pizzeria where you sell the most delicious food in town. Or you can become the mayor and manage the city, namely the police, urban economies and licensing people

Jailbreak
A simple description for the gamemode is a game mode in which guards control, and maintain order amongst the prisoners, and the prisoners can either listen and follow the commands to try and be the last alive or they can try to rebel and kill the guards. Every round if a different round, the warden could decide to play different games like simon says or tic tac toe and you basically have to win in order to survive.

Deathrun
DeathRun is a minigame with two teams: Runners and Deaths. The objective of the runners is to make it to the end of the map, avoiding any automatic and death-activated trap along the way.

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I noticed on your Steam group that you will be branching out into other games and platforms in the near future. Anything you guys are currently thinking or working on?

Yes, this has always been quite a popular question and I’ve had a lot of practice answering it! Basically, for the time being we are going to stick strictly to Garry’s Mod but as a community we don’t like to leave anything of the table on new ideas.

My reasoning behind sticking to Garry’s Mod is that all of my experience, lessons and team are based in the game. All of our momentum, popularity and base is focused there, so why not exploit it further?

The second reason is we just never seem to be quite done with our gamemodes. This is by design! I like to continuously add new content, make amendments and improve all of servers to extend their success. This isn’t possible when making adventures into new games such as Arma, Minecraft or Rust etc.

4 years is a long time for running a community non-stop, this must have a toll on your motivation from time to time. What are you doing to remain active & motivated yourself?

I think a lot of community leaders can relate a certain feeling which one gets from the success of your own work with the combination of others. What keeps in touch is mobilizing others, often strangers to unite and build something as a collective. Such energy and teamwork are rarely found in the world we live today and that keeps me motivated and on track.

The other reason is if we are accepting individuals money, there is a duty of respect and care that comes with that. If any leader thinks their work is too much, they should stop accepting money and the responsibility that comes along with it honestly.

It’s a known fact that administering a roleplay server is a tough job and with the amount of players you are getting your team must have their hands full. How is your staff team set-up? (hierarchy and duties)

Our chain of command and hierarchy structure ensures that each part of the community is handled one person at a time to ensure equal work and to not overload anyone.

Below I will state the Chain of Command and then explain each role and how they contribute in certain situations.

  • Administration Team
    • Founder
    • Co-Founder
    • Community Co-Owner
  • Development Team
    • Community Developers
    • Server Developers
  • Hierarchy
    • Server Owner
    • Server Co-Owner
    • Server Head-Admin
    • Server Head-Mod
  • Staff Team
    • Super-Admin
    • Senior-Admin
    • Admin
    • Senior-Mod
    • Moderator
    • Trial-Mod

Explanation:

This structure has been modified and changed over the years to fit in with the change in the community and make sure everything is still running up to par. To sum most of these hierarchy ranks up and what their jobs are, I will just give a basic overview.

The Founder Administration Team works with each other to ensure all servers are running properly, problems are being solved and updates are being put out, they also make sure hierarchy are doing their job and that abuse or any sorts of problems are sorted.

The Development Team works with Hierarchy to put out updates for the server and try to fix any bugs or any problems with the gamemode.

The Hierarchy work with each other and help each other to make sure that their server is working properly and that the staff are behaving, they manage the server and make sure staff applications are being done, any disputes are being solved and overall running and managing the server.

The Staff Team by far is one of the main core aspects as to why a server is good or not. Having good staff can mean that your players enjoy sticking around and that they actually listen to the staff. Staff teams make sure sits are being handled and that people are not breaking the rules and any bugs or suggestions are passed onto the hierarchy to be fixed.

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Are players able to apply for a staff position?

Yes, anyone is able to apply for a staff position, doesn’t matter if you are a user or a donator, everyone gets a fair chance. We have templates that people fill out on the forums and then allow staff and normal users to +1 or -1 the application depending on the experiences they have experienced and although Head-Admin’s generally decide on the acceptance by talking with the rest of the Hierarchy, the +1 or -1’s do actually impact the decision sometimes. As we will most likely not accept someone who has a massive ratio of -1’s compared to +1’s. However, we tend to keep it as a hierarchy decisions as player can sometimes be biased and hold grudges against certain players.

I noticed that you stick with the “old school” formula of having a forums and Teamspeak server. Any reasons why you haven’t branched out to Discord or social media?

I use Discord for personal things, and I agree it is much better for that. However with a Garry’s Mod community we use a lot of tags, permissions which don’t seem to quite fit with Discord (we have ran trials internally before)

I think Discord is a great piece of kit, however my Community ranking, base and IP’s are linked to the Teamspeak 3. Because of that we have decided to keep it. In the future however, depending where things take us we may hop ship. But for now I don’t see it as a issue in the communities eye.

I haven’t thought about using any other social media other than a Steam group page. I think any other social media (like twitter, facebook etc) is a Overkill and bloating. Enjin, Steam and Teamspeak 3, all focused and work in line with one another.

Now that we’re talking about your forums, it’s not every day I see a big community still using Enjin due to its limited customizability. Any reason for picking that platform specifically?

Haha, another common question. Enjin in my opinion is fantastic! I really think some of the Flak they get is really misguided.

Enjin have always offered me good deals, discounts and support if its been needed. I think the network idea is fantastic, that members can join other Enjin websites and ours with a single account. I’ve never had a issue with security, DDoS or any other type of breach issue with the company and I’m very happy with them.

On the topic of Enjin, we do not have a automated donation system for a few reasons. I’ve had one before but it always seemed to have stability issues and very unreliable. With Enjin every higher up staff member is notified and player donated and we activate within 10 minutes; never been a issue. Enjin store is also a treat too, with integrated API support for a number of gateways.

Let’s address the (for some) elephant in the room being DarkRP. The Gmod community has mixed feelings about thing gamemode and servers running the gamemode get labeled quick. What are your views on this?

The base is excellent to work of. The base is public on Github and don’t see a legal disclaimer about editing the code to work for your own needs. I personally think restricting creativity (short of DMCA rights) is pointless in a game like Garry’s Mod, I mean it’s the idea.

Without DarkRP base there is a very good chance there would be like 90 percent less Communities, hell I wouldn’t be here cause I wouldn’t of been able to start a Community initially without it as I had zero coding experience.

I think the issue that players have is over saturation. To actually find a decent server you have to scrape your way through 100’s of copycat servers which use the exact same Garry’s Mod store scripts as one another. Honestly, I think gmod players blame DarkRP where the real culprit of oversaturation and duping behaviour is because of Gmod store.

However, I’m fairly relaxed about both topics and think Falco creation is one of the few reasons why Gmod is still alive today.

Has the Garry’s Mod landscape changed during your active years? If so, how?

To be fair, not that much. I’d say the most welcome change, is the tone of updates released. In 2014-2015 updates were done in a really poor fashion and often caused major headaches for Founders, however since 2016, garry’s team has done an excellent job on organizing updates and pre-testing versions.

However, as a Founder I’ve learnt not to be involved in stuff outside of W-G. Drama is still a general theme of the game and I’m more than aware of it.

The only group I am active in is Icefuse’s Founder’s Gentlemen’s Club.

And lastly a question I always at the end, are there any tips you want to give to other (starting) communities out there?

I’d say patience. I think this sort of trade is very odd, and I find it hard to pinpoint why it is Werwolf Gaming is successful at a personal level.

The only thing I’d say to other Founder’s is to understand how to treat people, and that your people make the community great, and hence yourself successful; never forget that.

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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