Hello Hero Power Listeners, It was brought to my attention that I am not writing enough blog entries, therefore this will be the first of what I hope to be several new articles to come in the near future. Today however I want to talk about Hearthstone as more than the game we all enjoy but as a community. I was ask recently for some advice on how to get started putting together a Hearthstone Community, so what follows is from my personal experience.
In this day and age of instant communication social media is definitely your best friend when attempting to start a community. The first thing I would do is check Facebook to see if a Hearthstone community already exist’s in your area that you can join, you can also click on the Hearthstone Communities tab at the top of this page to see the list of groups we have compiled for you. If you cannot find one local to you, you can always start one, Facebook makes this relatively easy and it can be something as simple as a group for you and your friends to share deck ideas and theorycraft. When we started the Knoxville Hearthstone Players group it was just myself and a handful of friends, it is not something that will grow overnight and it will take time for people to find you, if you email us a link to your group we will add you to our list and hopefully make it easier for you.
The second thing you can do to start growing a community is to start going to Fireside Gatherings in your area. Blizzard makes it easy to check for these by listing them on firesidegathering.com, you can check this website and it will search for events within your area. Again if there are none in your area you can always be the group to step up and host an event yourselves. The primary issues you will need to address will be finding a location that will allow you to host your event and be able to supply ample bandwidth for multiple players on their network. I would suggest you start with speaking to people at coffee shops or libraries, we host our event at a local non-profit charity here in Knoxville that allows us to use their space on the last Sunday of each month as they have no other events planned for that day, this month we are partnering with a local game store. Be sure to speak with the location and make sure your event is not conflicting with anything else the location might have going on or that they are okay with your group being there. Once you have secured a location with sufficient space and internet you than need to pick a day, it is best to plan your first event at least a month ahead of time to allow for players to be able to find information of your event. Once you have selected your day that you have cleared with the location it is time to start officially scheduling, there are quiet a few steps here so I will try to be as thorough as I can.
This is a multi step process that usually takes me about an hour each month when I am scheduling our fireside gatherings. First you need to create an “event” on your Facebook group, you can call this whatever you like, we call ours the Knoxville Hearthstone Open. Once you have created the event and have a link directly to the event you need to go to liquidhearth.com. Liquid Hearth is a great resource for Hearthstone players if you don’t have an account go ahead and create a free account and then click on forums, once in the forums scroll down until you come to Fireside Gathering and click into that forum, here you want to create a new topic, be a detailed as possible as this is the primary location of information regarding your event. You can view my post by clicking here for an idea. Once the post is to your liking you can submit it for approval, also copy the url and past it in your Facebook event details so people know where to find it. You now have 2 locations detailing your event, but there is one more location you need to create it in, and that is on firesidegatherings.com. Here you will click on the purple “Create Event” button and fill out the form asking for the name of the event, location, date/time, what your plans are for the event, and who is invited? If you event is open to the general public and people of all ages then you should put that, make it as open to players as you can. Again here is a link to my event for ideas, not sure if this link will still work after the May 22nd event. Besides online you might also want to print some physical fliers and see if your venue will allow you to post them in the window or if you are in a college town perhaps you can post them on campus.
Arrive early to your venue of choice and make sure your tournament space is cleared and ready for your players, also be sure to check out the fireside gathering Innkeepers guide to running events and print out and hang the filming notice before you arrange tables and chairs if you need to. Your job is to have fun, but to make sure everyone has a good time as well. Please keep in mind it could take time before you start to have a decent turnout, there were plenty of months it was just myself and about 4 or 5 friends, we still ran the tournament with just 6 of us so don’t be discouraged. As we have grown we have had as many as 32 show up for some of our events. I recommend having a spare laptop setup if you have one open to challonge.com, this is the website we use to keep track of players scores each round, it is free to use. Make sure your players know to arrive early to register and when it is time to start you just click the start tournament button on challonge and then have fun. Also make sure all of your players know about your Facebook group and let them know the best way to stay apprised of new events is to join. If they do not have Facebook, you might consider starting an email list. Once the event is over it is very important to make sure you or your players clean up after themselves, you want to maintain a strong relationship with your venue so you can come back month after month.
Just because the event is over does not mean the work is done. Now you need to report the results of your event to Blizzard by sending a detailed email including how many attendees you had, a link to the challonge tournament page, and any pictures you took of the event to FiresideGatherings@blizzard.com, it is also a good idea to post the pictures you took to your Facebook group and remember to thank everyone for coming out. Once you have reported the event it is time to start planning for the next month’s event!
I hope you find this helpful in starting or growing a Hearthstone Community, please remember if you create a Facebook group for your area please send us a link so we can add it to our Hearthstone Communities page. I cannot reiterate enough please DO NOT get discouraged if your first few events are just you and your friends. Also send us an email and let us know how your first event went or comment below, we would love to hear about it. Make the most of it and have fun, that is what community is all about.