~~Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are mine, and not necessarily those shared by Linden Gold Hunters as a whole.
For those of you that don't know me, I am the owner of Koi Pond. Like many of you, I found these games, enjoyed them, and wanted to give a bit back to the community. This blog is about my experiences creating a small land geared towards Linden Gold Hunt (LGH) products, such as Fish Hunt, Gold Hunt, sunflowers, Snuffles, and farming.
First a little history. The original Koi Pond was maybe 512sqm and contained a buoy, and a few potions I sold. Although there wasn't much room, people did come, so I soon found a bigger space. I've been at my current location for 3.5 years, and I've added on space, rather than relocate again. I also was a member of a clan, which has since disbanded, and part of my land was originally used for clan purposes. Over time, it's all evolved into the mess you see today.
Now for the advice/lessons I've learned type of stuff:
Organization (or at least organized chaos):
If you are going to do rentals, you need a group for that so renters can rez their stuff.
Buoys can also have a group, if you don't want to allow scripts. Many people do this to avoid being griefed, but having a million groups to join is not a good thing either.
Gold hunt rules require that no groups be used to enter an area to hunt. Exceptions are age and gaming restrictions.
Ideally, before you set out your stuff, figure out some zones. For example, you don't want coin hunters trampling over fishers.
Don't put snuffles near the edge of your property because this will cause materials to rez outside of you land and render them useless. Sunflowers need to be in a public space if you want others to water them. And Snuffles also need a public space if you want to let others collect their materials.
Burrowed Snuffles and those set for sale do not have to be in a public space. However, you need a separate stump or tree for each area, and you need to remember to set that stump or tree as primary each time you breed your Snuffles.
I also strongly recommend that you have your own space that is private, even if it's just a skybox. I keep my farms on this land, use the space to rez potions I'm setting for sale, etc.
Working with LGH products:
All of LGH's products provide traffic for the land owner. Traffic being people who will potentionally buy you product or service. My goal with Koi Pond is to provide much of what you will need during your visit.
Buoys attract fishers (of course). Blue buoys provide the fishpots and have multipliers. Yellow buoys provide more lottery stuff and have multipliers. Red buoys give more biowaste.
Which buoy to chose? I did not want the traffic a multiplier creates since my land is small. Veteran fishers seek out red buoys for the biowaste. I chose a red buoy and have never changed it. However, it will run out of funds quickly due to the demand for biowaste.
You want to pick the buoy in the desired color with the least tax on it. Less tax means the initial price will be higher. When filling a buoy, tax is taken off the top. Multipliers will deplete your funds more quickly.
Also, I feel that having worm barrels is a requirement. They are convenient for players, and also can provide a bit of revenue from worm sales.
Setting out coins is a useful traffic tool, with the added benefit of directing hunters to certain areas of your land, such as rentals or a store. However, keeping coins full is not an easy task. There are 2 ways to refill coins, manual and auto.
Manual refill requires you to refill each coin individually. It's a pain if you have many coins, but it offers more control of your funds.
Auto refill does the work for you. You will be IM'd as coins are refilled. You need a strong stomach for this option. I have been at a 10x fishing multiplier and ended up with less money in my account due to coins being refilled while i was fishing.
If lag is an issue, putting coins in a skybox is a good idea. However, people will landmark the skybox, and bypass your ground level. So, make sure you have a few coins there, too, or something else to bring people there.
SecondAds ad boards:
Visitors click, the land owner gets L$. The limit per land is 4. It's a no-brainer to have them. It takes time to build up the funds, but there is no investment since they are free. Once cashed out, the money goes to your Linden Lab balance.
Also free. When visitors buy, the land owner get a small cut. They aren't used much, but the free rod is on there, so that's handy. Also, if you do farm rentals, some users will buy breeding packs. Now and again you will get a nice surprise when someone buys a big item from your boards. Any money earned goes to your Linden Labs balance.
(Please note, some aspects of sunflowers may be changing, so my info is correct as of this writing only). The seeds are used to feed snuffles. If they are put in a public area, visitors can water them. A small reward (if set) is given. I set mine at 0.20 per watering, or 2L$/ per day for each sunflower. That money is paid from your LGH account off the top. If you water them yourself, the money has already been taken, but you don't get the reward.
(Please note, some aspects of Snuffles are changing, so my info is correct as of this writing only).
Snuffles are breedables that also provide the needed materials to craft potions. When you set them out, it's a good idea to freeze them into place, as they move quickly. Every so often they poo, and visitors can collect poo, charcoal, and mushrooms from them.
As of today, they each eat 216 seeds per day. When a multiplier is set, materials will appear more often, but they will eat more, too.
Snuffles can be kept on hand to be used as a traffic tool, or you can get heavily into breeding them. They can be sold, but don't count on that. Profits from Snuffle sales go to your LGH account.
Farm Plot Rentals:
Players want farms, but do not always have land to put them on. Providing 2 prim plots at 1-2L$ per week provides a place for them. This is more of a helpful thing than a profitable one.
Players seeking spots want stability. They will go with the well-established lands first. I have had some farmers with me for the entire time I've been doing the plots. Many will leave when they get their own land.
My policy with farmers is to not return farms for non-payment of rent. Doing so causes them to lose their worms. I do try to IM them first. After a couple of weeks of no contact I assume that the farms are no longer a priority, and I will return them at that point.
To sell them or not sell them? It's a personal choice. I have done well selling potions in the past, but there are some problems with that, too. Good customer service is essential here. There is also sometimes a language barrier dealing with buyers. My advice is to start small, and see where it goes.
Non-LGH related stuff:
I personally feel that having multiple brands of buoys, or multiplle collection games in a small area is a bad idea. It just causes confusion, especially for the newbie.
I, however, have some other stuff to bring a bit more traffic to my land. Maybe that brings new players to LGH, too. I don't know.
It's a personal choice, but do think it through, first.
Some other stuff to consider:
At least at first, you will spend more than you earn. I have used a lot of my own money to buy things and keep things stocked. You have to pay for the land and whatever you put there before others can use it. Any profit will most likely come from things like rentals or sales.
If you build it, they will come. Well, sort of.... They will fish and hunt. But rentals and sales involve some form of trust. Visitors to your land want stability, especially for rentals.
Life happens. But if you have to shut down, let people know in advance if you can. Someone else can potentially take your renters, so they aren't left out in the cold with nowhere to farm or sell.
Work together. When I've run out of farm plot rentals in the past, I do try to send them to other land owners. Get on kev's list of farm rentals (it's one of his notecards).
Changes occur within LGH all the time. By this I mean things like farm harvest times, and the amount of food a snuffle eats per day, can change. It sucks when stuff you have bought (or own many of) changes. But one has to adapt and make it all work.
It easy to get discouraged. But it helps to remember all the people who helped your vision work.