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Anatomy of the Emperor Multi-player Game
By Phil Walker

To start with, I have my own Multi-player "group", and I was contacted by one of the custom campaign writers on this site to let you know what it takes to be a coordinator of a group and to give you my opinions about the Multi-player experience, so here I am and am more than happy to explain things from my point of view.

Starting a group

So, let me begin with what it actually takes to get a group started and to keep it active and growing. I'm sure you think it's as simple as putting up a bulletin on a website or in a forum and your group will grow and take care of itself. Well, if you believe in the "tooth fairy", you can keep this kind of dream alive, but it won't happen in reality. It does take WORK, so if you want to have a group, don't expect it to come on a silver platter. Let me give you an example of what I did and have done to give you an idea.

When I first got into the game, I did notice there was an online multi-player option. As I had never played anybody on a computer before, let alone on the internet, this did strike my curiosity a bit. I did put up a post in a forum, but there wasn't much response save for one and the forum moderator. He told me that I would be lucky to get people to play with as the lobbies are always empty and he was speaking from experience. So I did have one other player who was interested, so we emailed each other and picked a day and time to play, which we did and were both happy we got a chance to play. So that inspired me to put up more bulletins and got her to reply to them in hopes we would get more people interested.

It did work out but it wasn't easy. Since everybody contacted me, I figured I'd do what I could to allow us all to play and actually took on the role as co-ordinator. There are now twelve, soon to be thirteen, people in my group and it does take WORK to keep things going. I check my emails about four or five times a day and reply to all inquiries as I do want our group to continue to grow. I do keep schedules of everybody for a normal week. These consist of the days they can play and the hours in their time zone. There are people from four continents and spanning over nineteen hours at any given time as far as their time zones. So, it isn't easy by any means. However, I do contact everybody by mail once a week at least to let them know of days and times in hopes all can play at least once a week. Of course we never intend to try to play all at once as the times for some aren't convenient for others, but we do try to work it all so all can play. I don't do this just for my sake either. I do it for the good of the game and for those who really want to play online. It took me about two months to get those I have and we are always looking for "new blood" so we try to accommodate all who want to join.

Playing Multiplay

Now, as to my actually gaming experiences. There are quite a few things I've noticed. Being I am legally blind, some things I've had to work around. For instance the online chat function of the game. I cannot read the little "pop-ups" that appear on the screen but there are other ways around that. If you send out spies to gather information on every city, you will find those who you are playing with, and you can send messages via couriers. They are easier to read and also not everybody has to know what you are saying to others, so it does have its advantages.

One bad thing I've noticed that some players do, is to alter the game settings while playing. The speed of the game is a particular problem. Some choose to set the speed at zero when they want to build up without the game progressing, no matter who it affects. Now I make it a point to mention if you are going to set your speed to suit you and not everybody, we won't play. I personally can deal with a speed of 10 and up to 80, but if above or below you are discouraging those you are playing with. So, tact is needed but you also must make your point or one player will ruin the game for everybody. Other than these things, you should be able just to enjoy the game and the chance to play others. If you, as I do, have contacts all over the world, it won't be dull but you must keep in touch, show consideration, and most of all just have fun.

If this interests you and you think you have what it takes to keep a group going, I do encourage you to do so. However, if not and you'd like to play, my group is always open to you! The main thing is to stay in contact and have fun!!!