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Do you find yourself struggling to gain an audience to your events? Does the idea of hosting events for large numbers of people seem daunting? Do you get stressed out when trying to plan for the community? Then this article may be the right one for you! Introducing...

Hosting Public Events:

Tips & Tricks


In any roleplay community and more so within the realm of the public sphere, events are a common way to bring different kinds of players and characters together to have them interact and engage with one another. These events can take the form of anything from casual parties and balls to more elaborate cross-guild events designed to promote co-production between different groups within the community. Depending on the size being catered to, often events can quickly grow to be stressful due to the commitment and work involved in their planning and organisation.

As someone with their fair share of experience when it comes to planning, supporting and hosting various events, I'd like to take the time to share some tips and tricks that I've picked up over the years in the hopes it'll help some of you.



Purpose - the 'Why?'

Planning events - depending on the purpose - is no easy feat and while the veterans of event hosting may be able to plan last minute, not all can work to this model (Lord help me, I can't). The first thing you need to consider is the purpose, or the 'Why?'.
So you want to host an event? That's great! But first you need to think about why. Is it because your character wishes to expand their influence and grow a stronger network and thus invites all relevants individuals of influence? Or is it because you as a player wish to create new forms of experience and roleplay, to do something different and offer it to the community from the norm?
Either way, this should be the first step. Imagine your event from an in-character and out-of-character perspective. What will it achieve IC, and what will it achieve OOC? Once you can answer these questions, then you can move forward to the next step.

Kind of Event - the 'What?'

Now that you've decided the purpose of planning an event, now you need to consider what kind of event it'll be. Are you reaching out to the elite and influential of the galaxy? A gala, a ball or a formal dinner may be suited. Invitations to a huttball game or a seedy dive bar in the lower levels of Nar Shaddaa doesn't serve well to gain their favour (unless they're into that!).
Parties are undoubtedly one of the most common kind of public event. This is because they can appeal to everyone - in the right circumstances. Events inviting people to socialise are often the easiest to arrange. And when it comes to the night, they can often play themselves through without much overseeing beyond occasional reminders and herding guests to the right areas.
Auctions are another popular kind of event. Focus on that innate curiosity (and perhaps greed) that characters are sure to possess. Simply auction off some items, maintain enough mystery of the items, but offer little tricklets of information to gather them in. Then simply auction off the items, a starting price and watchthe bids roll in!
A word of advice to the above. As is natural in RP, the amount of money characters carry cannot be maintained, so in the event of potential bids reaching unrealistic amounts (for what the item on offer is worth) consider creating an 'upper limit', so that whoever reaches that limit first, they get the item.
For cross-guild events, the story options are endless. It could be a series of scuffles between the Republic and the Empire, two guilds coming together to show showmanship and a new alliance between them by inviting all to attend and bear witness.
Don't be afraid to do what's been done before. There's nothing wrong with doing an event that has been done before. It means it's tried and tested and sure to last. But don't be afraid to step outside the box either. Just because it hasn't been done doesn't mean it won't be a great thing to do!

Your Audience - the 'Who?'

With what the event will be identified, it's time to consider your audience. Who is it for and why is it for them? Relate back to the purpose, to identify who the key audience will be. The type of audience you target or appeal to will always be lesser than one designed for the general public, so keep this in mind.
When reaching out to your target audience, be sure to work the event in such a way that appeals to them and encourages them to attend. A Sith deeply involved within Biotic Science or Technology would be remiss to ignore an invitation to an unveiling of new prototype scientific technology that promises to aid in the war against the Republic.


The Location - the 'Where?'

Now that you've determined the kind of event and who the audience will be, now we come onto the location. With the previous two already decided, it is natural the location or kind of location you imagine should fall into place. 
Though don't consider the OOC implications. If you are holding the event in a guild stronghold, will there be enough people from said guild be online to ensure someone can always gain access to the SH throughout the event? Then if it is being held in a public stronghold, you will need to ensure that the owner of the SH will be online and available in some manner to distribute keys (silver keys are recommended to let others handle invite). The owner will need to be online to ensure the SH appears in public listings for people to join. If you chose a public SH to allow cross-faction characters join in, you'll need to ensure that there is at least one player from each side to allow invitations so no one is left out.
There are a few guilds and players out there who are happy to open their strongholds for the night, be sure to each out and speak to them. This can take stress off you and promote more interaction within the community.
It is no doubt that roleplay in the open world is not as active as it was, so I would always encourage use of the massive wonderful variety of landscape already available to us. If you decide to host it in open world, be mindful to include location maps or directions on how to get to the event from the nearest taxipad.

Time & Date - the 'When?'

Now onto the date and time of the event. More than likely the planning behind this will be more OOC planned than IC, figuring out when is best to hold it. You need to take into account what will gather the largest number of attendees, if there is another event overlapping at the same time, what are people likely to be doing in real life at the time to ensure they will have free time to attend.
Unless you are a single person planning, there are other factors to be considered - fellow organisers, guildmates and any taking part in the event itself such as entertainment. Cross-guild events have the unfortunate further addition of planning it for both guilds' members to attend.
A general note is that weekends tend to be the most successful days for turn out and players are often looking for things to do in the weekend evenings if they have no current plans within their RP for then. As the Darth Malgus server is European based. It's important to take time zones into account when planning. An event starting at 10pm in London, would be starting at midnight in Moscow. The earlier in the evening the better, as it gives all timezones chance to attend before it gets too late. 7/8pm GMT/BST is what I recommend for a starting time.
Remember to be online plenty of time prior to the event start time, to allow plenty of time for further preparation and due to characters likely arriving early (it happens more often than you'd think) and it saves them standing around.

Planning and Organisation - the 'How?'

Now that you've decided upon the main 5W's, the rest of the planning comes into play. This is more often the lengthier part, lasting from the start all the way up to and including during the event itself. And sometimes after it,if you seek to gain feedback or continue it further into a series of events.

Realistic Timeframe

There's no point thinking up a detailed event with many parts on a Wednesday, with an intent to host it on the Saturday. This is fine for impromptu simple events, such as small parties with no features or additons to the event. But in a case where mutliple people are required, or intending to reach out to a larger audience, it is important to give yourself a realistic timelimit. 
I recommend giving at least three weeks between the posting of the advertisement or sharing of it when you've decided a date. But even before you advertise it, you should have been considering other aspects of the planning such as: what would be included, what to do if there's any trolling/interruptive behaviour from players, a game crash, or if you or another host is unable to get online.
Give yourself time. This can allow any changes to be made and implemented as smoothly as possible, ultimately taking stress away from you.

Advertising / PR

Get the message out there as soon as possible. Word of mouth at first. Or mention to friends or in discord or chat groups. This can let people know to keep that date free and promote further interest by spreading it around. 
When it comes to a thread or poster - you should have a general idea of what will be happening on the night. Include the formal introduction, list what to expect on the night, and include location directions if required. If it is a thread, give it at least three days between each forum post. This stops spam but also spreads out what to include. Use the PR to your advantage. Use each post to include new acts, new games, new features of the event - it has a double bonus of bringng it back to the top of the recent postings.

Communication / Networking

Talk to everyone! I can't stress this enough. Talk to everyone, tell everyone about it. Not only advertise it and sell the event to them, but also see if you can get them involved! We're all roleplaying with each other after all, why not see if other players can bring their characters' stories to combine with yours?

Music

For the events where music is required, it's becoming increasingly common for players to play as musician characters in a concert style event where they stream music and emote out as if it is their character performing. This gives diversity to events and gives it a little extra flair.

Mishaps and Behaviour

During any public event, one can't always be sure of what to expect from players - be it RPers or members of the public. Unfortunately some may decide to ignore the set courtesies and rules of RP and act out and disrupt the immersion of the RP. In a Stronghold, this is easy to resolve, simply remove them from the SH and ban them. But in open world that is not an option. Encouraging players to simply add the player(s) to their ignore list is the most straight-forward approach. At most be willing to have an alternative location in mind should the trolling become unbearable.

Likewise, during any event anything could happen during the schedule - an act goes offline, or is not available. Having back up plans doesn't hurt, or being able to think on the spot to keep the flow going is also important. 

The Story

If you are planning a random party for the sake of having a party, that's great. But why not plan one with a greater motive in mind? Ensure your character and other people can get something from it, that's what separates a good event from a boring event. As said above, about reaching out to people. Look out for the resources some characters and guilds already possess and be sure to utilise them and work together. Who knows what amazing story or plot could develop from it - people are unpredictable after all!


Quick Fire Tips:
 
  • Plan in advance. Give yourself plenty of time.
  • Don't do it alone. That adds to more stress. Get friends, fellow guildmates and other players involved. It takes off the pressure and you never know what ideas they could give.
  • Don't be afraid to be creative - that's what we're here for. Let it all out of the box!
  • Have a purpose to the event if you can, give it a point and ensure that people are getting something from it.
  • Utilise the power of Discord and forum posts - spread it as far as possible.
  • Be courteous of time and location - not everyone is the same level or on the same timezone.
  • Open world has far more variety


Well there we are folks! I'm hoping you've enjoyed this. More so I hope this encourages more people to be bold enough to host events and takes away any of those worries.

If you've got any tips you find help you, please share them in the comments.

Happy roleplaying!

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