SO YOU'VE DECIDED TO TRY YOUR LUCK IN THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE ...
HOW DO YOU GET STARTED?
I've been wanting to do this for a while because I notice that we keep attracting these really badass members who make awesome, creative characters but after a few weeks, some of these members vanish and take their characters with them. This bums me out so one way DDB is going to try and help new members feel more at home is to provide some pointers to help you dive right into the site. Here are suggestions and bits of advice that cover every aspect of joining the board from creating a character to posting in threads to cbox etiquette. We're a friendly bunch who love getting new members so I hope this helps!
REGISTER WITH YOUR CHARACTER'S FIRST AND LAST NAME IN CAPITAL LETTERS. DO NOT REGISTER UNDER AN ALIAS OR NICKNAME.
Before you do anything, it's always important to familiarize yourself with the site PLOT. If you want to really do your homework, you can get in depth information on the site and DDB-world history in the rest of the ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE. It's highly recommended you browse through these articles before moving forward.
A lot of times, peoplehave an idea for a character or a particular face claim they want to use but don't know what group to put them in. The response you're most likely to get in the cbox is a bunch of us shouting out groups low on characters. This could be disconcerting, confusing, and even (depending on who's doing the shouting) downright scary. Here are some places you can go to scope out the groups and figure out where your character would be most needed*:
(Keep in mind, this is assuming you looked through the CANON list and didn't see anything you liked.)
RULE #1: USE THE CENSUS.
The admin and mods keep this up to date with every accepted application. The census breaks down how many characters are in each group as well as the male/female ratio of each group and on the board. Remember that we want to keep all our groups balanced and we want the male/female ratio to be balanced as well! If you see one group sorely lacking in numbers, we'd love if you took intiative and made a character for that group!
RULE #2: ALWAYS CHECK THE
BACKSEAT ACCEPTED FORUM
Though the census is pretty accurate, the best way to pick a member group if you can't decide is to go to the ACCEPTED CHARACTERS forum. Now you can see how many characters are in each group and, if you're curious about what kind of applications we accept, you can browse through apps to get a better idea of the level of writing we expect on the site. As an admin, I highly encourage reading through a few applications just to get a feel for the site before joining.
RULE #3: WHEN IN DOUBT, WANT ADS!
If nothing strikes your fancy, your next step could be the WANT ADS. This is one of the best ways to guarantee your new character will have plots and friends established on the site before you even submit an application. Usually, the players who create adoptables are flexible when it comes to names, ages, faces, and member groups but please make sure to check with them before changing anything! I'd like to think that we have a pretty diverse bunch of WANT ADS with something for everyone.
*REMEMBER! The member group does not limit where your character can go or who they can thread with. The groups are fluid and you can always change at a later time. The groups just indicate where your character was when the zombie apocalypse first started.
NOW THAT YOU'VE GOT A CHARACTER AND GROUP IN MIND, YOU HAVE TO TACKLE THAT FREE FORM APP.
Here are some quick words of advice to help you make a character that will be beloved on DDB:
Don't be afraid to get a little crazy. If you have a whacked out idea that you aren't sure will fly, run it by someone in the cbox and see what reaction you get. We've gotten our fair share of sociopaths, crooked lawyers, and Star Wars nerds so nothing is too crazy for DDB.
WITH THAT IN MIND: School girls-turned-strippers with drug and daddy issues aren't as original as you might think but we're open to just about anything so long as its written well and plausible within our setting. I highly encourage browsing through our accepted applications and even a couple threads to get a feel for the site as you work on your application.
WHAT THE HECK IS A FREE FORM APP?
It's exactly what it sounds like - we want to give you the freedom to do whatever you want with this application. Most people prefer to write a narrative from their character's perspective or in third person that tends to be 4-5 paragraphs long. In the narrative, they give us some background history, a good chunk of the character's personality woven throughout, and typically how their character is reacting to and dealing with the zombie apocalypse. If you can give us something like that, you have a really good chance of getting accepted. What separates a good application from a GREAT one is the way this information is delivered.
We've had people write 'diary' or journal-like entries with their character's thoughts and feelings. We've had people write letters to their family members that they've been separated from. We've even had interview style applications with characters being asked random questions and all of these worked out well! Remember the word MINIMUM is 700 words and the maximum is around 1-2k. Any more than that and the poor admin might need to take breaks between reading.
In regards to our application, here are some things that should be avoided:
1. PLEASE don't be vague. If anything, try and be overly OBVIOUS about your character's personality traits and tendencies. You might think you're being clever with verbal acrobatics in your application but after reading hundreds of applications, the admin don't want to have to wrack their brains to try and figure out what it is you're implying about your character. Keep in mind your applcation will also be the main source of information other members have on your character - you want to make it easy for people to understand your character and get a feel for them! In my own applications, I always try and keep in mind the golden rule: Show, don't tell!
2. Don't be rude! If the admin ask you to change something then please change it! You won't do yourself any favors by arguing with the admin. If we suggest a change or alteration to your application, it's nothing personal, we just want to make sure everything aligns with our rules, setting, and requirements. If you're asked to change something that you absolutely feel very strongly about, PM an admin to handle the matter privately.
3. The member group has nothing to do with who or what your character is, it's simply the place your character happened to get stuck in when the virus broke out. That means Price Choppers aren't limited to JUST people who work at Sam's Club - your character could have easily ducked into the mall, Sam's Club, or a nearby boat to avoid getting mobbed by zombies so don't let this deter you from making a character in any of the member groups.
4. Along with member groups, the majority of characters on this site will be from the Houston area - they will have lived in Texas (or be visiting Texas) prior to the virus outbreak. The only characters who are completely new to the area post-virus outbreak are the Area 9 crew and that's for plot purposes. This may change in the future but for now, try to make sure your character was in Houston before the zombie apocalypse.
CONGRATULATIONS! YOUR CHARACTER HAS BEEN ACCEPTED! ... NOW WHAT?
First things first: Make sure you post your FACE CLAIM and your information in the WHO'S WHO sections. This helps us keep the site organized and there's nothing the mods hate more than a missed face claim. KEEP THE MODS HAPPY.
Optional: You can also post your contact information (MSN, AIM, tumblr, etc) in our CONTACT LIST if you don't mind having that information out for all members to see.
Now, there are a couple things you can do to begin getting in on the fun!
1. Post in the INTRODUCTION forum so we can learn a little bit about who you are. This isn't required of course and you don't need to post a picture or anything too personal, maybe a few likes and dislikes (I'm a music junky so I love hearing what stuff other people on the site listen to) and what you want to be when you grow up or something equally cheesy. This is a great way to meet members with similar interests and provide conversation starters.
2. Talk in the cbox! It might look hectic or intimidating at times but having a presence in the cbox will help you feel more a part of the site and will give other members a chance to meet and talk to you! This is probably one of the best things you can do to become a part of DDB - or any site, really. Even if you're just dropping in to say 'hi' or "lol" at someone's joke, we'll notice and we'll always say hello back!
3. If you have AIM or MSN don't be afraid to ask other members for their info. Most of us are on messengers while we're on the site and again, it's a good way to establish connections and get plots. Speaking of which ...
4. SPAM PLOT ADS. NO. SERIOUSLY. I MEAN IT.
A lot of times, members post their own character plot ad and then sit back, waiting for members to shower their character with ideas or they'll post in the cbox telling other people to post in their plot ad without taking intiative to do the same.
The best way to get plots for yourself is to plot on other peoples' ads. Period. When I first started on DDB, that's exaclty what I did for at least THREE solid weeks and it paid off in the end - I ended up generating a lot of thread ideas and starting RPs with diverse characters. Be open-minded and don't get discouraged if people don't plot on your board right away! When we get new characters coming in daily, older members are sometimes hesitant to plot with new people because they're afraid the player might vanish suddenly, leaving them (and their plot) hanging and sometimes, we're really busy with real life stuff and don't notice a new plot ad right away. If you post first though, you're showing us you plan on sticking around and we'll reciprocate with plots, threads, and ideas.
5. PARTICIPATE, PARTICIPATE, PARTICIPATE.
There's almost always stuff happening on the site that everyone, no matter how new or old they are to DDB, can join in on. As soon as you're accepted, you can post in any of the open group threads for your member group. Because of our on-going plot, the admin are always trying to find ways for groups to interact with each other and the open threads are always linked somewhere. We also have EVENTS that you can sign up for from time to time so keep your eyes peeled for that. Finally, there's forum games and voting that you're more than welcome to participate in. Never think you're too new for voting on OTMs or to give your opinion if you have them.
THERE YOU HAVE IT. HOW TO BECOME A DDB VIP IN A NUTSHELL.
Of course, we've only scratched the surface but now you have a place to start. We hope to see you around the site soon!