Gareth’s Guide to a Successful Township I didn’t have much to do at work so I thought I might share with you some things that I do and use within the Kijustsu Anei Townships and other areas having to do with Ultima Online. These are not rules, regulations or bashes on anyone, these are things I have learned while running townships. Please feel free to take whatever you think will work for you. Founding a new township- If and when you decide to build a township your first task is to have a solid core group to help build and maintain your new town. This group should be at least three or four people, who come with a good reputation and a history of known commitment. Once you have your core leadership decide on a township charter and create a common building to coordinate from. While you are doing this, other townships may want to give you advice. Take the advice you feel is most helpful or just simply listen and do it your own way. Some townships may make you feel like you have to do things a certain way or try to make you change things because they feel what you are doing makes no sense. Ignore these types of people!!! If you understand how you are doing things, then that is all that matters. Remember this is your township and you need to love the way you are running, building and promoting it. If you start doing things their way and not your own, you will find yourself not liking your township and it will show!! Leadership- Leadership is very important!!! For the most part they will be the reputation of your township. Every action or decision that they make, either for themselves or for the township WILL REFLECT in your townships reputation!!! I find it best to have a mixture of people to serve on your town leadership (serve being the keyword here) If at all possible try to find these types of players. 1. Someone from a different shard that has experience in running a township and very little ties to the politics of the shard. 2. A motherly figure that is the embodiment of compassion, who will look out for the little guy so they are not left behind. 3. The embodiment of Alexander the Great. Someone who wants to have it all but still treats everyone with respect. 4. The Chaotic and loudmouth one who will spend hours writing something like this. 5. The girl next door. Taking Responsibility- If you have a guild that is part of your town and members of their guild go out and disrupt an event, harass another township or guild, they will not be looking at that guilds leadership. They will be looking at you. You are ultimately responsible for their actions and you will need to deal with it. If you do not then your town leadership will be seen as the problem. Now you won’t deal with the members directly but you will deal with that guilds leadership directly. Failure for you to take action will result in damage to the town’s reputation as well as your own. Township Events- Events are a wonderful community building tool BUT should not the driving point of your community. If you rely on events (yours or EM) to be the driving point of your community then you will fail. For the events you do run make sure they are creative and try to run events other townships are not. Many of the best events are centered on community work, which is doing something for everyone without expecting a repayment. Other townships or guilds don’t like you, point blank and simple. It is very easy for them to disrupt your township if events are the only thing you have going. *Destructive Events Ready? Aim? Shut down!... wait shut down? There are people out there who will create an event to destabilize yours or compete. With over five years of dealing with these types of people and events I give you the following advice. At times your event will conflict and/or be the same exact event as another. Try your best to be the bigger township and work around their events. If you cannot then be sure to contact the other township and let them know why you cannot move it. It’s called having respect for another townships community even if they don’t have respect for yours. DO NOT enter into discussion about the event if you have poor relationships with the town/guild doing the event. All this is going to do is drag you into “big drama” which will NOT end in your favor. Another thing you can do is shut down your event for a few weeks. If the people behind the destructive event only created it to destabilize and/or compete with yours, then they will shut down a few weeks later. Why you may ask? They only created this event because you did and if you take away their purpose of creating the event they will not want to run it anymore. When they shut down everyone will notice and know exactly what they were doing. Once they shut down simply reopen your event either on a different day or 1-2 hours before you originally scheduled the event. Never ever, ever, ever create a township event to purposely undermine another one. It will NOT end well for you or your township. In fact you will lose ALLOT of respect and limit your ability to grow as a township community. **EM Events Simply put, they are in charge of the township recognition program, be sure to remember that but also remember no one likes a kiss butt. Township Location- Location, location, location!!! If at all possible try to build your township near a public moongate or well known area. If your township is in the middle of BFE not many are going to visit. Utilize everything and anything around your township such as moongates, vendor malls, dungeons, resource locations and water. Township Guilds- Attracting different guilds to your township will open up many new opportunities but will also add to your daily management load. Be sure to welcome ALL guilds that show interest in your township. Get to really know the guild and decide if they will be a positive addition to your township. Remember you need to attract them, not the other way around. When deciding if a guild will be a positive addition, make sure to check your personal opinions at the door. Just because you may not get along with one member out of 30 is no reason for you to exclude them. If you start doing this, then your township will be nothing more than a private social club. Remember that even if the guild does have a few rotten eggs, they will more than likely see themselves out of the guild and your township on their own. Township Government- There are many different types of government. I highly advise AGAINST a dictatorship. Having one person who decides it all is not the best idea. They do not know a vast majority of things going on in your township and/or the shard community. I recommend going with an adaptation of a republic so you have multiple people making the decisions. With this group at least one person should have the knowledge that others may not. When it comes to role play, not many players like to be dictated to or feel they have to bow down and be loyal. I say this because there is a real life player behind the character and they already have enough government in their life. Your township government should listen to the voices of its people!!! Without them you have no community, you have a bunch of dictators, dictating to each other. It’s that old saying…”to many Chiefs and not enough Indians.” I advise against having one single guild being the government of your township. For example the township of Kijustsu Anei Village does not maintain a single guild government or single township guild. The reason behind this is because you exclude everyone else. Once you exclude you cut off your ability to grow and if your guild destabilizes or splits, so does your township. *Dealing with township mechanics I highly suggest you do not deal with all of your mechanics through Role Play. Simply put not every single township and player on the shard does role play. If you do things this way then you are FORCING players to participate in something they may not wish to participate in. Once you force them to do this they will hate it and they will not be joining your fan group. Certain areas I advise against dealing with in RP are alliance, guild inclusion into your township, situation disputes, township setup (house placement, establishments etc), township regulations and communication. One area I will focus on more is communication. If your only source of communication is by in game means and through your RP character you will not be getting the information to everyone and once again you force players to role play. You need to take responsibility for information distribution and perhaps use your news service, website or forums. Dismissing Citizens and Guilds- No township ever wants to dismiss anyone but depending on the situation you may have to. If the problem is very severe you will need to act quickly. Failure to do will result in the person or guild making the decision and more often than not, it will be the people that you want to keep. When making this decision, take away the numbers game. If you base your decision on numbers and not who is in the right and who are the quality members of your community you will only cause further damage because now you are stuck with the rotten eggs. These rotten eggs will soon seep down into the very foundation of your township and you will be helplessly forced to their will. You will also find the group that did leave will more than likely build a township that surpasses your own, who wants absolutely nothing to do with you, your township and the town community. Can you blame them?!? In the end, guilds come and go. Guilds become large and overly active, and then become small and less active. Sometimes they disappear or they build back up BUT one thing is constant, your township. Spawners and Spawn Guilds- I beg of you, do not form a guild for spawning in your township. If you do this you will be caught up in TONS of politics and you will limit your ability to work with others. I highly suggest pointing people in the right direction of a spawning guild if they want to spawn. This only works if your township is not run by a guild. If you want to spawn then create a relationship with a spawning guild and also remember to assist them with kegs, apples, Band-Aids etc deliveries, help them help you. Despite popular belief many of the “I’m so bad, I’m badder then bad, they don’t even have a word to describe me” pvpers, are actually softer then a teddy bear and some of them even make you sing in ventrilo! To be completely honest you will find that PvPers are some of the most helpful players in Ultima Online, so don’t just write them off. News, News and More NEWS!!! Your news service is a vital part of your township. They are the ones who distribute the towns information to the shard community. Remember that distributing your news to as many outlets as possible is the key, the more areas your news is posted in the better. If you only post your news in one location you will find the town news limited to a select community. Another thing to remember is making sure your news is true and accurate. If your news reporters make things up and do not take the time to research the storyline they could put your news establishment in a bad light. They will also create a negative feeling towards your community. Randomly making up news stories without good knowledge will result in people no longer reading your news, which is something you really do not want to see happen. When adding people to your news team make sure you don’t just look at their immediate capability. Not everyone has a shinny resume with tons of experience and how do you expect them to gain experience if you don’t give them the chance? Look for the willingness to learn and improve. Not everyone is going to be a Super Star Reporter but given the chance and the opportunity they can be. So be sure you’re the one who gives them that chance and opportunity to grow. Outside Advisement- Seeking Counsel outside of your own community is a very wise course of action to take. I can honestly say the advice I decide to take from the following groups has never once failed me. -BRPA on Baja -RBG Elders on Chesapeake -PGOH on Catskills -News Admins on Stratics -Event Moderators (Chesapeake, Pacific, Sonoma, Catskills, Origin and Baja) Before any barks of favoritism about the EMS listed, I get advice from the topics that they post on stratics and from the meetings they hold on their shards. I go in under cover and listen to what they say when addressing the communities they were put in charge of. I highly recommend you do this and see the results of their decisions. I don’t recommend joining a guild or town as a different name to get advice. Ask them for advice or look at the decisions they have made which were successful. Another area to get advice from is your own leaders and the leadership of your alliance or entity, which I think is a given. Also never put the past to rest, make sure you consult your own townships history to see what mistakes you may have made. RP Storylines- I won’t tell you how to role play but I will give you a few examples of what I do and do not do. 1. I never create a storyline that affects the entire world and other townships (without first consulting the townships it would affect) for example: If I wanted to make an earthquake on the entire island of Homare-Jima, I would contact any township on the Homare-Jima Island. I would do this because it’s just respectful and you don’t know what the other township is doing. What if they just built a machine to stop earthquakes? 2. Whenever I want to involve a township in a storyline I consult them first. If you throw them into something they are not going to like it, you will lose respect and I do not foresee them wanting to take part in your future storylines. 3. Whenever entering into a RP storyline created by another, I contact them so I know I don’t do anything to undermine the basic foundation of the story. 4. If I ever use an EM structure for example ransacking Lord Balandar’s house, I make sure the EMs are not using Balandar’s house. If they are then that could invalidate my storyline or make things difficult for the EMs. 5. I never write a storyline out of anger or frustration. If you do this then whatever is making you angry will result in a destructive storyline which will have unforeseen consequences not only to you but the guild and or township you are part of. 6. I highly suggest not using someone’s character name or township in a storyline without their permission. This is sort of a duh suggestion. Township History- History is important but do not make it the number one important thing in your township or you will become the history book. No matter how long your township has been around you are not entitled to a single thing. You still need to gain the respect of players, guilds and townships on a daily bases. You should always conduct yourself in a humble manner and just because you created this or built that does not entitle you to the respect of the entire community. In fact tossing that around will drive people away from you. If you feel that everything you have done in the past is good enough then you are wrong. The community does not stop because you have been there and done that. Always remember and appreciate your townships history, but there are many more pages to write in. Do not become stale, unchanging or unwilling to help others because your town is 2+ years old or more. Establishments Those wonderful little structures where your mind can be as creative as the game will allow. There are many different types of establishments but the best ones you can have in your township are community involved ones. Establishments like a Library, Tavern, Dueling pit, Altar, Blacksmiths, Jail (I love jails, so many ways to break in and free prisoners) These types of establishments allow not just a few players to partake but a wide range of players to partake. You can use them for a storyline, event or even a place to gather. I advise you not to always think that an establishment needs to be an 18x18 plot. Having large, wide open areas will just make your establishment feel empty. If your establishment feels empty then players most likely will not want to hand around. I suggest taking the at home feel when building your establishment. Make sure it is decorated (don’t overdo it), shows style and creativity. If your establishment is plain marble with pure white floors it will give off the impression of being cold and uninviting which is something you don’t want.