Hi all, I was originally going to send this to Rusty as a chat message in Steam as it came to me, but I thought I would post it here to see if we can all get some more ideas out (so when your read "you" I had originally meant Rusty). Anyway...

I was just thinking that maybe to get some more people to support the server(s) you could have discounted promo days at random times and announce it through the server when someone joins.

I was also thinking maybe you could do a week-long trial VIP for $4 (but not have it recurring since people unexpecting another charge would be very unlikely to continue donating, and you are charging them a tiny bit more for week access at $4).

After it expires maybe have it send an auto-email reminding them if they like VIP to join - even could do it at a slight discount (take $1 off) for the first month since they already paid a little higher at $4 so it's like a loyalty discount for continuing to support.

You could offer free month of VIP to a top few people (however determined; scores, kills) on the server for the previous month (but cannot get consecutive months for free since it would basically give those high-scorers unlimited VIP acess). I believe something like this is done for Captain's Night.

Maybe even let in a few players who were rookies when they first joined the server but have played on the server for xx hours that month (no idea if ns2stats or server logs record "rookie" though). I think giving VIP access to someone who first joined as a rookie and continued to come back to the Diamond servers would go a long way - just imagine getting NS2 and really liking it (or they wouldn't be on the server for xx hours) and playing on one server a lot because you like it and then finding out you just got VIP access for a month. I know I would think that's pretty cool if I just got NS2 and had that happened. You could give them the clover badge (free VIP, lucky) and overlay the diamond part of the diamond badge on it to distinguish from regular VIPs.

I'm not sure how all this would be implemented since I have no idea what logs are available (and how you alert someone they won VIP when all you have is their Steam ID). I'm sure sending an email on subscription expiration is already built into PayPal and could be used for the trial-VIP followup message.

I think at least you would be able to offer these options to anyone who joins up on DiamondGamers.net since they would input their Steam ID when they join (and you could note that you have to input your Steam ID to be eligible to win along with a link on how to find your Steam ID). You could possibly even have the announce message say how many players are in that month's pool (take all members of DiamongGamers.net with Steam IDs entered, remove VIP members, remove players who do not meet minimum eligibility requirements). The advantage to going through this effort it that it looks a lot more enticing saying, "Join DiamondGamers.net and enter your Steam ID for a chance to win free VIP - 20 players in this month's pool" versus, "Join DiamondGamers.net and enter your Steam ID for a chance to win free VIP - 350 players in this month's pool" (assuming the number is just pulled from the number of distinct player IDs up to that point in the month from ns2stats) which wouldn't even be remotely accurate since there will be a lot of IDs that are ineligible for free VIP because they only have something like 2 hours on the server for the month.

I'm no programmer but from a technical perspective I see it could be done like this. Set up some task like a cronjob to pull all the DiamondGamers.net members with Steam IDs who aren't VIPs from the database into memory, have it lookup those Steam IDs on ns2stats in Diamond servers (as opposed to putting all Steam IDs who joined the server from ns2stats into memory and polling them against non-VIP DiamondGamers.net Steam IDs which would be more resource intensive) to see if they're eligible, count those that are and have it modify the server message file (with luck the server doesn't need to be restarted to change messages but it may very likely load the message file into memory as soon as the server is launched) to change the number of player's in the pool. That way every 6 hours or so could have the job run and update the message.

Apologies for all the parenthesis.

Anyhow....does anyone else have any ideas how we can make Diamond Gamers bigger and better?