Attract more players to your private server

First I would like to introduce myself to this topic. My name is Pim and I have been in the private server business since I was about 12 years old. This is now 10 years ago, this means that I have been in this world for quite some time. I have managed my own private servers to generate income of up to 10.000 euros a month and this also means, that I have this money to invest back into the business, after all, you want to attract more players to your server, to eventually increase your revenue.

That’s why I am here to explain some of the most important things when you look at getting more players for your private server to stay ahead of the rest.

Being afraid to spend money

I’ve met a lot of people that are afraid to spend money, but spending money is really the key to get more traffic to your server. You should see it as an investment.

You should see spending money as an investment, getting more players, means more revenue.

When you get more players, players tend to stay quicker. Players on your server attract other players. That’s why you see a lot of people faking their player count on their home page/landing page. That’s also my next point:

Act as if you have more players

It seems like a stupid thing to do, why fake your player count on, for example, your website? My experience says this: when a new player logs in, the first thing they usually ask when they don’t see a lot of other players around:

How many players are online?

That’s why I think it’s a good idea to ‘fake’ your player count, but don’t make it too noticeable. I have seen servers increasing it by 10x, but that’s just too obvious. 2x is in my experience the best way to attract new players.

Players attract players, people landing on your website, should fall in love with it, but they can’t when they don’t see a reason to join when there are only a few people online.

Referral system

In my experience, once you have some players, the players want more players. The best way is to stimulate them to bring their friends to the server, but why wait for them to take action? You take action! For example, when you invite a new player to the server, give them both a bonus when they are logged in at the same time, so they can team up! It’s one of the most powerful free ways to get more attention to your server.

A way to give players reason to join your server

Get more votes

Toplists have been out for years, it’s not new news, but getting high on them, will bring you a lot of traffic and will help you out a lot when you start with your private server!

Almost all private server have these toplists, it means that there is a list where players can vote on and the one with the most amount of votes is ranked the highest. These toplists are reset monhtly.

But what if you don’t have that many players yet? Then you will most likely be at the end of a toplist, this means almost no extra traffic to your website. Focus on these toplists with a reward, for example vote rewards. Give people something on your private server for voting

But I don’t want to spend hundreds of hours on coding?

You don’t have to. There are many websites out there that solve this problem for you, usually free of charge. Here are a few examples of a website for your Runescape private server.

Buying votes – the quick way to players

There’s also another way to get more votes for your website. You can buy votes, for example for Top100Arena, Gtop100, Xtremetop100, RuneLocus, and almost any other website.

It’s as easy as online shopping, you enter the number of votes you want, fill in the link, buy the votes and they will automatically increase. Sounds almost fake, right?

There’s nothing to worry about when using this service, you don’t need any proxies or any programming knowledge. It’s a web interface to control your own votes, you can set your own speed, pause it whenever you like and rebalance your budget between different toplists whenever you want.

Here’s an example of a website that offers this service:

More votes will drastically increase the traffic to your server and website, this means more players, and also more revenue. This can be the difference between 0 players and 100 players.

Get to know your customers

You should store as much relevant data about your customers, think about e-mail addresses, player names, maybe even phone numbers. But why? There a few reason why you should!

  • Sending e-mail campaigns
    • It is very powerful to keep your players interacted, this could be done by sending newsletters to these players. Let your players know what kind of things you’re doing to improve the business you love!
  • Retargeting using e-mails or phone numbers on instagram/facebook
    • Also very powerful, it’s also possible to get e-mails from other sources (for example leaked databases, but don’t say you got that from me), so you can target old/current private server players.

Want to relaunch at a certain point? Just send everyone an e-mail with awesome information about the relaunch! The easiest and quickest way to get many people back playing on your server!

But how to get someone’s e-mail address? For example, make it available on the website to get daily rewards for free, but to get those rewards, players must enter their e-mail address.

Once you’ve got them, do NOT spam the players, only at important events you should e-mail your players, or as a monthly newsletter. You don’t want people to mark your e-mails as spam, this increases the chance of getting your newsletter in everyone’s trash folder and that’s wasted time.

Data is everything

Nowadays, data is everything. If you look at big companies, for example, Google or Facebook, their whole business model is around data, so why not store some data of yourself? This could be the key to know if your campaign is profitable or not.

But what to data to track that is meaningful?

  • Track the amount of visits you’re getting from toplists
  • Track the amount of donations you get from these toplist
  • Track the amount of visits you’re getting from your campaigns
  • Track the amount of donations you get from these campaigns
    • If the campaigns are not profitable, stop right away! Unless you want grow and have a lot of money, but if you don’t spend your money wisely!

This is leads me to the next point, track data about who your player is, your player is your customer. If you don’t know how to target them, it’s harder to grow!

Use social media to advertise

It’s not that hard anymore to advertise on any social media platform, is just costs money, but as long as you get more money coming in than out, what’s the deal?

Use the Facebook pixel

You can use the Facebook pixel to make an audience and specifically re-target that audience. This means that players that originally visited your website and left, that you can re-target this specific audience. Making cold players, a more hot player and maybe eventually spend some money on your server.

You can set Facebook campaigns this way, but also Instagram campaigns. I have used this on several businesses and as long as you know how much you’re getting in return, you know if it’s profitable or not!

Spending €40 euros to get €460 euros back in return? That seems like a good deal, every business should at least try it out.

Regular updates

Developing a game is a business, so have a good team where everyone has its own responsibilities. One should make a plan for the future, some goals. Work as a team towards this goal.

Another point is to know when to plan releases, have set times when you release new content, for example, every week on Thursday of every month on the 1st. It’s all about game design and you know what? You’re not the first game, other much bigger companies have investigated this all ready for you. For example, Path of Exile, a great talk about how they approached their updates. As a game owner, it is a must-watch.

A great talk about Path of Exile their game design. How to design your game so your players come back?

Try new things

Feeling comfortable? Feel like you made it to the top? This is a dangerous spot to be in, it is an awesome feeling to have it all working out, but don’t forget the future. Keep developing and trying out new things, otherwise, other servers will crush you.

New things could be:

  • New advertisement spots
  • New features that no other server has (unique features)
  • Using that new code language
  • Promoting players with audits

This was a quick list on how to improve your private server, let us know if you have any other suggestions!


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