The Future of Groups in ROBLOX
by Navin Lal
ROBLOX introduced groups in 2009, and, today, there are over 600,000 users in groups. While our community already uses them to organize, communicate, and battle, there are improvements we’d like to make and features we’d like to implement. At RGC 2012, Software Engineer Navin Lal premiered some of our ideas.
Groups are one of the features on ROBLOX that continue to garner interest and support from our users. Today, I’ll be outlining some of the plans we have for ROBLOX groups. We are, indeed, actively working on many of these features, while others are just ideas, so please feel free to leave any feedback in the comments section. We do not yet have any definitive release dates for the changes outlined in this article.
Before we look to the future, let’s take a moment to look back. The first group, launched in July of 2009, was called RobloHunks, which now features over 3,000 active members. It wasn’t long before we released walls, shouts, and roles in order to help groups communicate with one another and manage themselves more effectively.
By early 2011, we had given users the ability to advertise their groups, and a short time later, we gave users the chance to pick a primary group and declare allies and enemies. Like many other facets of ROBLOX, we wanted to leave power in the hands of users. And, like usual, you delivered.
Today there are over 600,000 groups on ROBLOX — group pages are responsible for 27 million monthly page views, and users spend 1.6 million tickets a month advertising their groups. The largest group on ROBLOX is called FEAR, consisting of 117,000 members.
It’s safe to say that groups have become an immensely popular part of the ROBLOX community, and we’re looking into various ways to improve them. Gameplay-wise, here are a few things we have in mind.
We want groups to begin promoting gameplay socially — we hope to create more Lua API’s for groups, like –getGroupRank(), and –setGroupRank(). For Primary Groups, we want to include the group emblem and rank in-game, and enhance the chat bar, so that it shows active online members.
We would also like to see groups competing with one another online in group vs. group battles. We have two types of gameplay in mind: raids, and ranked matches.
First, Raids. We’d like to give groups the opportunity to purchase land and establish a headquarters. The more people in the group, the more land they could own — though expanding won’t be easy, as bases can get raided by rivals at any time. If the raiders achieve conquest, that territory becomes theirs.
Ranked matches would be very similar to those of FPS games today — our matchmaking system will find games for groups of similar skill and pair them together for a match. Stats for the game could be tracked on global leaderboards, in order to determine is the most dominant group on ROBLOX.
Outside of gaming, we’d like to find ways for users to establish themselves as independent communities. Group members likely share a lot of common interests, so we’d like to develop a way for groups to curate content on their page for their members. We’d also like to encourage communication between groups, by opening group forums and chat rooms.
Lastly, we want groups to not just compete, but work together. ROBLOX is, and always has been about creating new content — while users, on their own, have created amazing things, we think collaboration between two or more users would lead to even more innovative creations. We want to make this process more streamlined, and offer incentives for collaboration.
We have a couple of ideas in the works for collaboration. We’re thinking about introducing group economics, which would give groups the ability to own and sell things, from a convertible to a 16th century wooden catapult. This would allow groups to legitimately establish themselves as companies within ROBLOX, giving them a chance to sell their custom creations for Robux.
Ultimately, we want to deliver more immersive and social gameplay to our ROBLOX users. We want to give you the tools and incentives you need to collaborate to make better, more complex creations. And we want our independent communities to continue to grow and dynamically change. We’re thrilled about the future of groups on ROBLOX, and, as always, want to hear what you’ve got in mind too! Feel free to sound off in the comments below.