During this Pandemic gaming industry is on a rise. There are a lot of gamers and companies who are looking to build their own games or start World of Warcraft (WoW) servers. Question is if the servers are free how do private servers make money?
Before we dive into how to make your own private WoW server, a note of caution: There are a lot of guides that are out there which are Trojan horses asking you to open tons of port and/or asking you to download code from sources that are compromised. Beware of those guides.
Are WoW Private Servers free?
Yes, most of them are free of payment, however private servers do have a donation. Apart from that private servers make money with in-game purchases like, levels, gold and other advantages that are not normally sold on Blizzard. Some servers will even sell extra talent points for your character and you can max all your tree skills.
So yes once your server is up and ready and more games come in – the money will start to flow.
Road to Success
Like all businesses this is not a business that will give you a lot of money overnight. It’s not something that you set up and let it run.
Give it time
No venture can be successful without giving it proper time. Having WoW you need to be passionate about the same. Once you have got your server online, you need to start marketing it and inviting people who will like to buy the server. Usually such invitations are sent via social media like Facebook and YouTube.
Your effort will get in more and more players until you hit a traction where players start to recommend your server.
Having a plain Vanilla (Blizzlike) server will not help. The whole WoW eco-system is filled with them. You will need to come up with something unique on the market to succeed. Other big servers in the market are usually plagued with low experience rates, low speed etc. Which is where you can set yourself apart.
The server you make should be one of a kind, those servers you may have in mind are running for a few years, they have put in that effort to get a stable community where it keep on growing by itself.
Focus on creating some custom bosses, items or whatever you are capable of coding and use that to your advantage, promote the unique content you have to attract curious players.
Quality support and services
When I have been working with a lot of server owners, a common reason I have found why such servers or owners don’t make money is because of poor quality support. It’s not just the gaming industry even in industries like eCommerce, SaaS etc. What is required is quality support.
When a new player comes in and there is no guide or support to welcome them or “How to connect” etc. they will just leave your site/server and go to the next available server. Don’t forget there are a lot of other servers out there, when you can provide with quality support – they are looking for, your server will become their new “home”. Once they have found their new home, they will invite their other within their network to join your server.
To make sure that players are sticky to your server – answer the question what they are looking for. Answer is quite simple – they are looking for a community to play with and bond while having fun.
It’s your presence as Game Master will help to grow the community and get in more players.
Top Class Server Infrastructure
A lot of Game Masters will start with servers that are of extremely poor quality and because of poor infrastructure they are not able to keep their community very soon players will leave those servers and look for a new “home”.
Important advice, upgrade your hardware as your population is starting to rise, rent good and fast hosts with Ddos protection given by likes of Geek Crunch Hosting who provide High Performance Game Servers. Server performance is important, you need a good CPU (E3 or E5), WoW emulators require fast gaming processors and enough RAM proportional to your players count. For start I would suggest no less than 8GB memory and the E3 CPU and a port speed of 1GBPS. Going for 100MBPS doesn’t make sense even mobile internet can give you speed of over 50MBPS and with 5G coming it 100MBPS will be redundant.
It is never about “cheaper you start safer it is” – that way you will never be able to get your traction that you are looking. There is no point having a cheaper server when players will leave and go. Better to invest into higher quality infrastructure.
Promoting your server online
Once your basic website and server has been setup. Now it is time to start promoting your server online and get in new players. Only when players come and play you will get money. Think of it as a traditional gaming arcade – even if you have biggest and the best arcade, if there are no customers walking through your doors you will not be making money.
Buckle down and promote! Most of your time will go in for SEO, Free Advertisement, content marketing. Join the top lists for World of Warcraft private servers, Motivate your players to vote every day by adding rewards. So on! Keep the promotion up. Be consistant and it will pay off.
Use social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. to connect with new players and get them to sign on. Do regular posts on your FB, Twitter and create videos for your YouTube channel – keep ALL your social profiles active.
FREE TIP: Start a live broadcast of you yourself playing WoW on your server. Also record this live broadcast and upload it to YouTube, FB etc.
Coding skills required
You have two options, get a ready made repack or get the source code from GIT and compile it yourself. I always go with option 2 no matter how hard it will be, it’s safer and on a repack you can’t fix any core bugs.
So you will need to learn:
- Advanced knowledge skills in C++ (Object based). Some emulators use LUA as well for creating scripts.
- High MySQL skills, your database needs optimization and tuning. Wow database can grow huge, the Characters will be the biggest. Login or Auth will have a fair amount of records. First World import is big but the database will keep a similar size. Characters can go over a few GB, it’s hard to create safety backups and also really hard to recover from crashes.
Management and networking
- Setup your host on Linux or Windows. Most Emulators will offer a guide for how to compile and what you need to install: Visual Studio, GitHub, etc.
- Set your firewall, open just required ports and block everything else. The Login for example will require only TCP port 3724. There is a second port required for the Realm List, and the third is your Realm. Read the configuration files, open just these 3 ports for the game to run and for players to connect.
- Set your database with MariaDB or MySql, if you run a website on a separate IP you will need to make a ssh tunnel to your server host, I won’t go into details but you can also open 3306 as alternative but limit it to the web-host IP only.
Be aware there are a lot of low guides out there that tell you to open tens of ports, it’s not true, it’s not safe!