So I'm running a drug, faction survival server. I'd say I'm doing pretty well. Its been about a month and we average 15-20 players. Only thing is, players don't seem to stay on that long. How can I make it more engaging for players to stay on the server?
Things I have already:
A rank system for players to rank up if they grow enough drugs.
Well, the fact is the amount of people who join a server is much larger than those who stay. I'd say ask your player base. Change motd to a link to a google survey or something, and let the people who know your server best advise you.
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From my time of hosting servers, I find that a lot of it is based on the theme of the server, how organized it is, the player base that is already there, and not drifting from the original plan. If you start a faction server, finish as a faction server. If you change the ideas that are already there, it will drive people away. An even bigger part of running a server, is showing it love. Hold events, talk to people, create a community web page or forum, and have neutral areas for people to get together and befriend each other or trade. Another big part is new people may not mesh with older players. This may also make the veterans jet to a new server. Some times you have to be a little mean and remove people that may be too young, or obnoxious to others. Even if they didn't break any rules necessarily. Hell at one point in my time of operating, I actually had to remove an entire clan, because they drove every single player away since they were so good at PVP. I of course wish it did not have to be that way, but I'd rather my server not be a ghost town. I can go on all day with useful suggestions on how to keep players, but in the end it's entirely up to what you find to work the best. There's hundreds of thousands of players out there, all of them are different. They are all looking for their home, and eventually you will find the people that want to call your server home.
By the way when it comes to PVP and faction type servers. A lot of players will definitely come and go. Usually when they lose a substantial amount of work, they move on. One of the best ways to keep a community together and alive is to lean towards Towny, or a PVE or softcore PVP server with vanilla roots. I personally run a 100% Vanilla Mindcrack like server with UHC mode turned on. The only plugins that will ever be used is for protection of our data. Sure, lots of people apply and never get on, or people try us out and they leave. For awhile it was like we had revolving doors instead of a whitelist. Eventually, everything comes together though.