Private Server Community Management

One thing I've found interesting to observe over the past few weeks has been Kronos' community management. What, you think that simply putting in the effort to re-build the Vanilla WoW experience and letting people play through it for free is enough? Oh no, people want ongoing bug fixes, in-game support, forums to discuss the game, staggered releases of Vanilla patch content, community management, positive marketing for the server... the list goes on.

The fact that this isn't Blizzard and it's not 2005 anymore can lead to some... odd results. Like a few weeks ago, when an announcement was made that people had been making additional accounts purely to create low-level warlock alts and use them to summon themselves all over the place, which the server owners have now decided to curb by imposing restrictions on warlock summoning.

I was initially a bit annoyed with this, as the original announcement stated that "low level 20 warlocks are no longer able to summon high level characters", which is kind of vague and which I understood to mean that warlocks would only be able to summon characters of equal or lower level than themselves from now on. After digging a bit deeper while reading up on the subject for this post, I came upon a clarification that said that the limitation actually only kicks in if the character is sixteen levels higher than the warlock or more. That was a bit of a relief, as it shoudn't affect regular dungeon groups, where a warlock's ability to summon group mates is one of their core utilities.

Nonetheless I have to admit that the whole thing left a slightly sour taste in my mouth. Looking at the 21-page forum thread, those warlock alts were apparently a real competitive issue among some hardcore guilds, with the ones with an alt stable being able to get to newly spawned world bosses much faster than any potential competitors. I can understand why this came to the GMs attention and why they felt the need to do something about it, but at the same time I can't help but worry about the effect this might have on more casual warlock players levelling up. I for one simply wouldn't expect to find such restrictions on a server that prides itself on being as "Blizz-like" as possible and would find them off-putting if I ran into them.

Last week, it was announced that the green dragons of nightmare as well as the AQ war effort would be upon us soon (ooh!) - and that Kronos would be implementing a seven times XP boost, lasting for a month. What?! My panic subsided when I read that it was optional, but I still couldn't help shaking my head about it a little bit.

I completely understand why they are doing this - they want players from other private servers to roll alts on Kronos and then be pulled into endgame via the fast levelling. Maybe it will even work on some people. But once again, this goes completely against Kronos' biggest strength: that of enabling players to re-live Vanilla WoW. Vanilla WoW didn't have people in your dungeon group levelling up three times. Why would I want to roll on a server with such a ridiculous levelling curve, even if I can opt out of it myself?

I don't remember where I originally read it now, but someone said that the reason Nostalrius has so many more players than Kronos is that Kronos targeted its marketing at people who were already playing on private servers, a niche group, while Nostalrius has been targeting former WoW players nostalgic for Vanilla, who may never even have played on a private server before and are a much, much bigger group. In hindsight it feels like an odd stroke of luck that I ended up on Kronos myself. Unfortunately I can't see the server having much success at increasing its population if its marketing sabotages its own strengths just to get players to server-hop from other private servers instead of pushing the "you too can re-experience Vanilla WoW" angle to draw in some genuinely fresh blood.

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