It was a proud moment for me the other day…
No, I didn’t manage to win a race, you cheeky swine. I logged on to Rockstar Social (not the proud moment in question, keep reading) and ‘The Boss’ had posted that we’d reached one hundred and fifty members! I couldn’t help but smile at that because since I’d joined, the crew had almost doubled in size! That’s quite an achievement in itself but, what really made me proud was how much we’d grown in to a real community.
I think it’s safe to say, it’s not that difficult to join a crew. Jeez there must be thousands of them out there to pick from. Honestly, that’s the easy part. Joining a crew that plays together and supports its members… now that’s something else entirely!
One of my friends is in a crew too (not the riot though… he has a manly avatar and all that) and their crew has a six figure membership. Literally hundreds of thousands of members…terrifying! Anywho, you’d think that would be a good thing right? Never short of people to play with, high percentage of finding a session containing other members by virtue of sheer odds alone, blah blah blah. But is that the reality?
I asked him how he was finding it and he sort of gave me one of those non committal shrugs and an “okay…” When I pressed him about it, he sort of alluded to the fact that there wasn’t really any sort of team play or recognition in sessions. Members were blasting other members, members weren’t accepting job requests and generally he felt like he was in a crew with complete strangers (which…I suppose I am too if I’m talking literally, but you smell what I’m cooking right?). He pretty much came out and said he could have gone back to being the crazy lone wolf mofo he is, without any real changes to how his sessions play out. It made me kinda sad in a way, because he’s a good guy, lots of fun to play with and a real team player when needed, yet despite joining this mega crew, nothing had really changed for him.
It got me thinking about his opportunities for recognition and promotion within his crew. When a crew is that big, how exactly are you supposed to stand out and build a name for yourself? Are the crew boss and his commissioner really paying attention to what the hundreds of thousands of muscle level members are doing? I doubt it. How can you? Who has the time for that Herculean task?
As we sat chatting and drinking an unusually civilised glass of wine, it really made me appreciate what I’m part of. I started telling him about my in game experiences, the sheer awesomeness of closed crew sessions, the hilarious outcomes of past jobs, the crew vs. crew battles and I think he got a little jealous.
Prior to joining the crew, I’d lead a similar sort of lone wolf existence myself and as a consequence I’d never really enjoyed the online mode. It felt a little overwhelming in a way, but at the same time very bland. To me it was like the story mode but without any of the colourful characters or wacky storylines. Happily though, I was proved wrong, my perception flipped completely on its head, the moment I joined the riot. Now the familiar avatars of my crew mates have taken on just as much character as Mikey, Trev and Franklin.
As one of the longer serving members, I think we’ve come a long was as a crew. We’ve evolved and made a lot of changes geared at improving the gaming experience of the members and they’ve all begun to bear fruit.
Firstly, we’ve changed the way we recruit. The crew used to have an open recruitment policy, but that created its own problems. Some didn’t have female avatars, some didn’t wanna play by the rules… some were just assholes! With the change in policy we can now keep and eye on who joins. We’re not an exclusive crew, don’t get me wrong. We’re not like a member’s only club or something, but what we now have the ability to do is ensure that each new recruit gets the welcome and recognition they deserve on Rockstar Social. Get pointed toward some nifty pages on this blog upon their arrival like a form of induction pack (albeit less complicated and more fun). And right off the bat, made to feel like part of the family.
Secondly, I think we’ve also started to use the Crew page on Rockstar social in a much more productive and informative way. One of the first things I did when I joined was to start posting stuff on there that would get people talking and contributing. “Blondie’s question of the day” was intentionally goofy, but it got members posting and responding and that really opened the doors for what followed. Now, it’s a regular hive of activity with members of every rank posting, replying and generally mixing it up. That’s been a little triumph in itself and leads me in to perhaps the most exciting one.
Around Christmas time, The Boss started talking about setting up something that went beyond the social page. There was talk about setting up a twitter feed and all sorts; however what she settled on was arguably more suited to our needs. This…very…blog!
This blog has really blossomed since its inception. It’s become exactly what the crew needed to build on its community vibe. It’s a one stop shop for everything crew related and the best part is… everybody can contribute! You only need look through the articles and there is stuff on here from muscle level members all the way up to the Boss. It’s something that everyone can sign up to contribute too and it’s really leading everything we’re doing this year through the use of polls and member feedback!
As we continue to grow as a crew, I think it would be awesome if we could continue to keep that feeling of being part of an extended, super sexy, ultra violent family. No matter how big we get, I’d like to see us remain a crew where you know that if you log in and see another member, you know they’ve got your back. Or if you get a job invite that you can go in to the lobby without being trolled or bullied (hey we’re badasses but we’re kittens too!). But most of all I always want our members to feel ‘included’ in every decision we make.
We want everyone to feel like they can contribute to the successes of the crew, but perhaps most importantly that every member is only a loading screen away from other members who they’re gonna have a blast with. If we can retain that feeling, then the sky’s the limit for us baby!