So you want to welcome new players to the Island, do you1)? Well, you might find this guide, written by none other than Ebenezer himself, to be somewhat helpful! Most of this applies if you intend to write in NewHome in general; remember, NewHome is, first and foremost,
full of for Newbs.
Have PATIENCE, friendly attitude, optimism. Be humble!
Remember that every player is a PERSON2)3)
. Treat them how you would have liked people to have treated you, when you were new to the game.
Teach by example and gentle guidance. Give leeway.
Call a Moderator if violence or threats occur or if a newcomer is being offensive and/or trolling.
Let yourself get frustrated. If you become frustrated, leave NewHome immediately.
Forget that every player has feelings4)
Quote rules at people5)
, point out flaws, or be swift to correct.
Try to pull "rank" or intimidate newcomers into behaving.
Remember: NewHome can be very frustrating. If you find yourself getting upset, please just get out of there and have a breather6). NewHome has driven me to that point on more than one occasion. You can't be friendly and welcoming if you're angry.
This seems like it's simple, but it's really not. When newcomers make mistakes, it's a good time to gently provide helpful information. However, you must be very conscious of your own presentation. Nobody likes a know-it-all7) and nobody likes getting unwanted information crammed down their throat. Think back to when you were a Rookie. Did you make the same mistake that you're seeing now? Openly admit it. It'll make your Rookie feel less foolish if they know it's a common error and that no harm has been done.
Phrasing makes all the difference between a person feeling ridiculed or assisted. Please, please, please read everything to yourself twice before you post it. Pretend you're the Rookie and think about how you'd feel if a stranger wrote that to you on one of your very first days on a huge, confusing place like Improbable Island.
Just for kicks: Phrasing examples:
"No weapons! Put that away!"
"Don't post that in Story. Come back to Banter instead."
"We don't use weapons in Outposts because we like to keep the place fun for everyone. Would you kindly put that away?"
"Oops. Did you mean to post that in Banter? Story is for roleplay and Banter is for out of character chat. No worries. We've all made that mistake once!" 8) 9)
Please, if you see a mistake that's forgivable (eg: someone using an emoticon in Story), ignore it the first time or two. That player may realize that he/she is the only one doing it and they'll stop it on their own, without needing anyone to tell them so!
First, if you're going to greet Rookies in Story, try making an Event. Rookies are shy. They need to know that there's something there, waiting for them to join in. I use tea because of the nature of my own character, but I've seen other people do many wonderful, creative things: barbecue, dress-up, rubber duckie races, shopping cart races, gambling with Jokers! It'd be boring if everyone did tea anyway10).
I will point out, though, that food is an important part of Island culture11). It's comforting. It's a way to bond. If you can involve food in your Event, then all for the better! However, it's not essential.
I usually don't give the Rookies any more than a cup of tea, sandwich, and some biscuits. These things are impermanent; tomorrow, the Rookie will be hungry again. I know that lots of people love to offer Rookies clothes (and sometimes even weapons), but I really recommend avoiding this. Part of being a Rookie is being naked. It's the first goal any Rookie wants to overcome. If you give them clothes, then their challenge is ended. However, if you tell them to trek to Improbable Central and visit Soup and Pants, then that's a little quest for them! Challenge is fun! Easy, instant solutions are not. 12)
A good way to avoid giving a too-easy gift is to decide what your character has on him/her/it before you walk into NewHome! That way, you're not tempted to conjure up a medical kit, bottle of wine, spare tuxedo, or what-have-you that any present Rookie may desire to obtain.
I cannot emphasize this enough. Have your character ask them lots and lots of questions! This helps the newcomer to put their character together.
What's your name? - This lets Rookies know that we're not all wearing name-tags in-character.
What was your job? / What is your job now? - Ebenezer's got a particular obsession with this one, but if you can find a reason for your character to ask this, then that'd be great!
What do you like to do? What are your hobbies/passions/skills? - It'll get them thinking about their place on the Island as well as their backstory.
What was it like where you came from? - I avoid "where are you from" because that one's a bit too specific and might make someone feel stuck.
How are you finding the Island? What do you know about the Island so far? - This is a good way to bring up the Museum and encourage people to read about races. Also a good way to hint about Mr. Stern's quest! "Oh, have you met Mr. Stern? He's the curator. No? Well, he's definitely in there. Keep looking around. Very nice man. You really must meet him!"
Do you have many friends here? Who are your friends here? - This lets them know that RP is a social thing and it's much better to make friends here than enemies!
Important Note: Please give Rookies an easy way to avoid answering any question. Character-building can be hard and people may like some time to think. I highly recommend: "Oh, you must've hit your head pretty hard on that fall. That's very common. Maybe it'll come back to you if you think about it? Maybe your memory'll be back in a few days? I hope so."
What if your Rookie says he/she is a dragon? Or a wizard? Or a werewolf? Or a ghost? Or a master-of-all-weapons? Or all of those things? So what? Treat all characters with the same respect. Be open-minded and accepting. Ask the same questions. Show true interest in the newcomer's characterization (eg: skills, desires, reactions) and less interest in any physical unusualness or strange abilities (eg: magic powers, wings). If you don't draw attention to their "specialness", they're more likely to realize that it isn't really special. It'll encourage the Rookie to think about their character's personality too, not just their supernatural abilities.
Keep in mind that some of our most beloved and respected characters on the Island have come from another time, come from another dimension, got animal ears, got claws, and what-have-you.
Now that you've got your Event started, here's how to keep it and keep everyone involved.
Don't exclude non-newbs! They can help you!
When a Rookie enters NewHome, immediately stop what you're doing to take a moment to greet them and invite them to join you.
When new people join in, repeat and re-describe what is happening. (eg: Ebenezer has set up his tea service there on a short table, made of empty crates. He's got sandwiches, biscuits, jam, and cake. There's plenty!) This makes it easy for a new person to jump in! Seriously, do it every single time that a new Rookie wanders in.
Introduce everyone to each-other! This can take some of the pressure off of you, if there's a big crowd. You can get the Rookies talking to each-other or your other vets talking to the Rookies. This also helps everyone make friends! Huzzah!
If there are people in the Outpost who won't join you, don't get discouraged. Just let them do what they're doing. It won't hurt anything.
Sometimes, I just hang out in Banter. After all, people should be welcoming both in-character and out! Many times, a Rookie will pop up in Banter before they go to Story. Remember, Rookies are shy! They are afraid that they are interrupting something important. Keep an eye on Banter and let the newcomers know that NewHome is theirs too. It's where to learn how it's done. They don't need to be afraid to come play.
Just like in Story, if you see any Rookie speak up in Banter, take a moment to greet them and invite them to join in! It's so easy for a Rookie to get overlooked because he/she hasn't written very much at all, but this is how people test the waters. When a newcomer peeks out, you must say hello and let them know that they're not invisible.
If a player is hesitant to RP, you might volunteer yourself. "Come into Story and talk to my character. I promise not to bite." If you're not currently in Story, you could try, "If you join, I'll join too." Or, if you're not wanting to RP, you might ask in Banter if anyone who's already in Story would like to play with the new Rookie.
Encourage the Rookies to ask any questions they might have in Banter or Location Four. (If you like, you might also offer to let them Distract you, if they come up with a question later.) Let them know that everyone here is very friendly and we don't laugh at newcomers for asking questions!13)
If a Rookie has questions about basic things like how to emote and colour font, don't forget to point out the Help button and the Frequently Asked Questions.
Give positive feedback! If there's a line of RP you really liked or you're amused by a character, why not let them know by putting a message in Banter? I also like to Distract those special Rookies that really stood out to me. I thank them for the RP and to tell them that I hope to see them around the Island much more in the future.
You don't even need to be present in Story or Banter to be welcoming! If you see writing that you enjoy, send a Distraction to voice your appreciation. Transfer Requisition to Rookies. Send a Cookie or a Memento. Use a Special Comment or two to award them in Story. Just let them know that you see them. Don't let them go ignored.