Groups: The Armies, Organizations, Think-tanks and Clubs of ROBLOX
by Andrew Haak
Look at ROBLOX from a distance and you’ll notice a couple things: a lot of games and a large, bustling community. Look a little closer, and you’ll find depth: a complex building/game-development kit, a rich virtual economy and a social network that connects users around the world. Part of that social network is a system of groups, which allow ROBLOX users to join up, organize, communicate, form alliances and rivalries, compete, and execute grand building projects.
On ROBLOX, groups are another way we empower users. All Builders Club members have the ability to create a group that anyone can join – a sub-community that can function like anything from a fan club to a MMO guild to a game studio – for 100 Robux, and recruit members with various levels of access. Call it user-generated community: the other user-generated content.
The popularity of groups
One need look no further than some statistics to see that ROBLOX users love groups.
- Number of active groups: 111,316
- Number of groups in existence: 704,628
- Number of groups created so far in 2012: 236,346
- Number of ROBLOX users in at least one group: 2,443,547
- Total number of group members: 7,635,070
- Amount spent on group advertising: 348,451,377 Tickets
We dug into the most active ROBLOX groups for our ROBLOX Game Conference 2012 Hall of Fame, and found that five most active groups averaged more than 250,000 wall posts for the 2011 calendar year. That’s an average of roughly 687 posts per day and 29 per hour.
The draw of groups
ROBLOX groups get interesting when you realize the wide variety of purposes for which they exist. What draws people in depends on the group’s values and alliances.
Ranking up: the meta-game
Many groups take organization and rank very seriously, and purchase ranks beyond the standard three. A group focused on collecting rare gear, for instance, might categorize members based on the rarity of their collection. A group focused on battling can set up military-style ranks. Moving up in the ranks has emerged as a social meta-game on ROBLOX, where users need to commit to a given group, put in the hours necessary and participate in group events to “level up.”
I browsed group pages and noticed that some had a list of “defeated” groups. There’s certainly competition between warring factions but, according to user Tenal, a Marshal (13th of 16 ranks) in R.A.T., “the clan battling system is somewhat inconsistent.” We have ideas to flesh out a formal system; in the meantime, Tenal reports that users continue to devise new ideas for group battling. Here’s a scenario that’s common right now:
The enemy “raids” a group at the opposing group’s fort. There is a capture system at the forts, and if the enemy team holds the capture for a certain amount of time (usually 20 minutes), they win. These aren’t scheduled, so any fort can get attacked by raiders at any time.
There are “final battles,” which conclude the war. The two leaders pick a group of people to take part in the final battle and a balanced map. They then battle, and the team with players standing at the end wins. Usually, the battlefields have two sides cloned with a script, resulting in both sides being exactly the same.
When you join a group, its badge becomes associated with your account. On top of that, you can set a primary group, which displays on your user profile and forum posts. In that sense, groups become a method for users to say, “I’m a fan of this.”
Interests and hobbies
Groups bring together individuals with similar interests, hobbies, geographic locations and even political ideologies. The Trade group, for example, exists to facilitate item trading between users. Pinewood Builders features ROBLOX users who build, assemble and script high-quality content. The Team Fortress 2 Fan Club is a popular place for Team Fortress 2 fans to discuss another game.
High membership is often seen as the sign of a successful group. In many cases, it’s a valid metric. Still, group owners and high-ranking members should be cautious about giving new members top ranks in an attempt to pad out their membership numbers quickly.
ROBLOX groups can promote themselves in ROBLOX’s Clans & Guilds forum, leverage the group-advertising system to attract potential members on ROBLOX pages and use their own clout – if any – to bring on members. As mentioned earlier in this article, group advertising was launched this year and users have already spent almost 350 million Tickets on advertising.
|ROBLOX Community Manager Becky Lee Herndon recently created a group to open the lines of communication between forum users and community staff. While the clout of her name attracted many members, she’s uncovered tips that would be useful to anyone getting a group off the ground.
A lot of new owners immediately buy a bunch of extra ranks for their group beyond the three you get at the start (Owner, Admin, Member). My advice is to buy ranks slowly over time because empty ranks make your group look inactive. You should decide how many ranks you need based on the permissions you want to give out. Be stingy with permissions to start and learn which members are trustworthy. One or two Admin-level ranks (also called Higher Ranks or Officers) and one or two Member-level ranks is enough at the beginning. You’ll know it’s time to buy more ranks when a lot of your members start asking to be ranked up.
It also doesn’t hurt to have a purpose for existing and a clear, unique identity.
You can explore ROBLOX groups, ordered by popularity, and more than likely find some that fit your personality right here.