|Being a Mayor|
Latest News For Mayors:
01/22/2018: New Block Types
Thanks to the 1/8 update, new blocks can be added to the game without having to do a painful server update or even an app update. Way cool! List so far:
UPDATE 6/8/2018: The game has changed a LOT since the Town Search Update in early March. It is now EASY to have your own town, and there probably won't be any more Mega Towns. So I kind of need to overhaul this entire web page. I'll try to get to it sometime this summer. Sorry for the long wait!
EMERGENCY UPDATE 1/9/2018: "January 8, 2018 - The Day That Never Happened" - The new Builder Buddies 1 update has been accomplished by making a new server that supports the new block types. The developer copied the BB1 world over to the new server early on 1/8. However he didn't disable the old server, so a ton of people played on 1/8 with the OLD app and server, not knowing that all changes would get LOST! Please UPDATE YOUR APP NOW to the latest version to start using the NEW server. You will get everything back that you had early on 1/8. Also, if the game starts glitching (like walking through blocks), forcibly close the app and re-start it. The developer says he'll have a fix for that bug in 2-3 days.
Also Top Towns is now back to 20 again, making it much harder for the small towns! [QUICK UPDATE 1/17/18: It was just changed back to Top 40]
12/18/17: Hacking Wrap-Up And Other Things
In late November hackers were exploiting a flaw in the game to steal wool and glass from plots, and even in one case steal a plot. Several towns were hit including Paris City, Diamond Falls, Shipping Town, and Las Vegas. I can't 100% confirm, but based on several different types of evidence, I believe the developer fixed the game from hacking on 12/11.
Also, regarding the previously reported spontaneous plot glitching, the developer seems to have fixed that over the summer. Now the biggest scam to worry about is when someone asks someone else to sell a plot for "1,000" gold. The game ignores the digits after the comma and the scammer steals the plot for 1 gold before the seller realizes what has happened. Even though this scam is months old, it is being attempted more and more. The developer has it on the "wish list" to fix this, but it may be a while before it happens.
Another thing that happened over the summer that I was too busy to report was that the "/plot eminentdomain" (a.k.a. "ED") command was changed. You can no longer convert wool back to gold. (The command was intended for mayors to take over problem plots, but many people were mis-using it to convert huge stacks of wool into cash... often even stolen wool). If the plot owner has any blank inventory spots, his/her wool goes into those spots; otherwise, the wool is permanently lost!
4/22/17: Cheetah Town Tragedy
Lightning Cheetah was affected by the mayor scam (see 2/20 news), and he lost a lot of glass and wool, and he was so upset he DELETED HIS TOWN (20+ plots). I offered to help but it was too late. Please, please, if you are a mayor, don't give up if you have spent many many hours building up your town! Not to mention all the residents that lost their plots and premium blocks! Having a town with a lot of plots is a huge asset, so don't lose that. Towns can be rebuilt, surprisingly quickly (I should know, I took over a town that had been trashed). ALSO, to protect your town until the developer fixes the bug, PLEASE SET YOUR TOWN'S DEFAULT PLOT PRICE TO 2500. Then if the bug occurs you can review the plots and change the price before a griefer steals the plot(s).
3/17/17: Fighting Sexting
I never had this problem before, but in the last week I've had five incidents of sexting in my town. Even more sad is that most people aren't offended by it. But remember, there are 9 year olds (and younger) that play this game! It is a family oriented block game - there are other places for this kind of dirty chat. I wrote to the developer, and the response was, "... this is a problem and we know it. The profanity filter we have in place is extensive and we add things as we see them, but ultimately we cannot censor every inappropriate thing. People use innuendos, very creative alternative spellings, as well as foreign languages to get their message across. Ultimately we will turn power over to mayors to mute their residents as needed. This change, this much needed change, should be coming by the end of the year."
I finally came up with another very clever idea to deal with sexting in the meantime. Temporarily turn off town
/town chatoff). Then not only is their "act" buried in lots of other
chat so it's less noticeable, but it is also broadcast to many others, who also might
report them. After about ten minutes, you can turn town chat back on again (
chaton). Obviously you have to be online a LOT to police things for this to be
effective, but it is better than doing nothing, and so far it seems to be working.
2/20/17: Mayor Scam Alert
I have reason to suspect that there may be a scam going on in which someone takes advantage of a glitch in the game to steal people's plots and wool. I have reported this to the developer, and they are investigating. I got word from the former mayor of Lea Land that she had to delete her town because of "glitches" in which people were losing their plots and wool. I think it MAY be not spontaneous game glitches, but scammers deliberately finding a way to steal plots. Recommendations:
All mayors in the game are currently going crazy due to the new rule change (as of 1/31/17) that mayors cannot alter residents' plots. I contacted Tech Support, and here is their official response:
"This change was made in the game due to mayors abusing the power. We often had complaints of people losing wool and other blocks due to mayors who would take things at their own discretion. I know it seems unfair that a few bad apples ruined the bunch but it is a decision we had to make. In the future we will be adding plot sharing. We are not sure yet what exactly this will look like. As of now we are thinking people will be able to 'approve' 3-4 others to help them build on their plot. This is still in the planning stages. We understand the value of sharing and working together in your communities and we want to support this. For now we had to disable the feature for abuse."
The ultimate goal in Builder Buddies, for many players, is to be able to start your own
town. If you just want to have a private town for you and 2-3 friends, it's not too
difficult; you just need to save up 1000 gold to create the town, then deposit 333 in
the town bank (
/town deposit 333) for additional plot you want to claim
for the town. If you want to create the "ultimate town", meaning one that is large and
appears regularly in the Top Towns list, it is a huge challenge. Here are some of the
challenges mayors must face in building and maintaining their town.
THIS PAGE (STILL) UNDER CONSTRUCTION - MORE INFO COMING SOON! THANK YOU FOR BEING PATIENT
Initial Gold and Friends
You only need 1,000 gold to start your own town. With such a low startup price, lots of people are anxious to rush off and start their own town. What they don't realize is that 1,000 only starts the first plot. Each additional plot costs 333 gold. The 333 is taken from the town bank, which can only be filled by your depositing your own gold into it (/town deposit 333), a friend joining your town and donating (/town join town_name and /town donate 333), or by the town selling a plot to a new resident. In the latter two cases, the gold is taxed 30% so if 333 is donated or received from a purchase the town only gets 233.
So, if you want a town that people are actually going to want to visit and join, you are going to need a few more plots. For this reason I recommend that you save up 2,000 to 3,000 gold before starting a town. It will also help a ton to have one or two friends help you, because they can: ////THIS SECTION NOT COMPLETED YET////
Before the 3/5/2018 "Town Search" update, you would have to make your new town somewhat close to a popular town that is in Top Towns a lot so that you could teleport to that popular town then walk to your own town. This led to a gigantic overcrowding problem, making it very difficult to find a spot for your town, and, if you did find one, you got "boxed in" by other towns very easily.
With Town Search, you can literally make your town ANYWHERE. This is because you can just search for it to get back to it. And once you get back to it, and potentially ask others to join you, your town can get in Top Towns where it will be advertised. So... it now makes sense to find a spot that is FAR AWAY from any other town, potentially in an area of the map previously uninhabited. You may walk 10-15 minutes to find your spot, but after you create, you can just teleport back using Town Search. Make sure you do a GOOD search of your new spot before creating,
searching in all four directions (north, south, east, west) to make sure there is not another town nearby (or, if there is, that it is small and that it is blocking only one direction).
In choosing a location, not only should you be in an isolated location, but the terrain should be favorable, too. Remember that you are going to be marking the borders of 16x16 plots for sale, and flattening the plot also so people can build a house on it. The more mountainous the terrain, the harder it will be to flatten. Any variation in height of more than four blocks means that there could be significant stone to remove, which is very time consuming (eight seconds per block).
Beaches are very popular to build by for two reasons. First, the terrain is usually flat by the beach. Second, sand is a very popular (and free) building material, and residents will not want to travel a long distance for sand. Also, some towns choose to simply build most of the town on top of the water itself which is already flat. In that case you just need 256 blocks to place at sea level for each plot. If you are careful enough, you can lean over a block to place the next block without falling into the water. Please note that if you build over water and someone falls it, it may be very hard for them to get back up, and they may not know how to teleport.
As a rough gide, you can also check the Builder Buddies World Map to help find a town site. Note that there are so many towns that only the larger ones are on the map, and it is time consuming to survey an entire lake so I only have two lakes and a few other shorelines on the map right now.
As of the time of the Town Search update (3/5/2018), the southwest part of the BB world (negative X and positive Z) was very sparsely populated, but I expect that to change soon as new mayors will be seeking the most isolated locations possible.
The town name is REALLY important for your town. A brand new player will be taken to the Top Towns list, and they will see 20 names, and they will probably pick the one that sounds the coolest. It's a good way to get traffic.
As an example of how important this is, YouTube City is pretty small, but since 1/5/2017 they have been in the Top Towns near 100% of the time. Why? Simply because of the name. It's a common interest for all ages and both males and females, and so people go there. And there's parkour there and a few fun things to do, so people stick around. By contrast, Jakejais Town is quite large, and it has all kinds of things: A harbor with sailboats, a zoo, a school, and ice cream parlor, a basketball court, McDonald's, KFC, a hostpital, a cinema, lots of beautiful villa-style houses with wool, etc. Yet it is RARELY in the Top Towns. Why? Because it was named after the mayor, so people get the erroneous impression that it is mainly the mayor's personal town. Word will probably get out eventually and the town will thrive, but it will be an uphill battle.
Check the Top Towns list regularly to find names that are working, and also check the Town Guide on this website which shows over 100 town names and which towns are doing the best over the long run (not just during the 60 second interval that Top Towns gets updated).
Right of Way Design
Below are the three "right of way" styles used in the game. In this context, a right of way is a plot or portion of a plot reserved for a road or other "public" land not to be built on. It is important because everyone needs a way to get to their plot, and you don't want it blocked.
The 2-wide border road style is attractive because nearly 100% of the town's plots can be sold to residents, and residents still get very large 14x14 plots. However, on 1/31/2017, the mayor rules were changed, and mayors can no longer alter resident plots. This means that if a road gets blocked, the mayor can't fix it (he has to kindly ask the plot owner to fix it). This style can still work because typically a problem resident would only block HALF of the road (the other half would belong to someone else), but as the town gets larger, the buildings get taller, and all the plots are sandwiched so closely together that it is hard to find your way around. As such, I only recommend this style for small towns. If you plan on having a large town, even in the future, I recommend the 16x16 right of way style (it is hard to start out 2-wide and then try to get plots back to convert).
Mystic Falls, later converted to Diamond Falls, had a unique 5-wide road style. This also ensured nearly 100% of plots could be sold while still having a large enough road to make the town easy to navigate. The build area of some plots was smaller than others, but it still worked, and it relied on resident cooperation to keep the roads clear. After the infamous 1/31 rule change, a few residents already started taking advantage of the fact that the mayor couldn't forcibly clear the roads, and the "clean" look of the town started to degrade. The mayor then decided to convert to 16x16 for all new plots (and have a long-term plan to convert the rest of the town).
So, as you can see, 16x16 is recommended, as is already the standard in most of the larger towns, including Newyork, Paris City, Jolly Town, etc. The main disadvantages are: 1) Almost half the plots have to be reserved and can't be sold (basically doubling the cost of growing your town), and 2) the "roads" become huge and detract from the "small town" look. However, since mayors can't alter resident plots now, the "reserved" plots are now the mayor's way to shape the town and give it its special look. You can use the entire 16x16 for a road, you can use half of it and plant trees in the rest, you can build statues, canals, etc. Start thinking about a design that will be unique and draw people to your town. The example 16x16 photo above is from Beach Port where the mayor found a way to have a smaller road with decorations around it so it still has the "small town" feel even though it is still 16-wide. (Another popular design is to stuff premium blocks like cobblestone and glass on wide roads to "flaunt" the town's wealth. There are lots of ideas - visit other towns and come up with your own!)
UPDATE: Strangely, despite the 1/31/2017 mayor rule change, most new towns are still using the 2-wide border style. Most new towns I have visited are being thrown together without a real plan. They are still cool, and they still work, but they will get harder to manage as they get bigger (assuming they want to get bigger). The screenshot above shows a brand new town "Diamond Island" started approx. 4/1/2017. This mayor has done an excellent job of laying out roads and plots, and this town is ready to grow and thrive.
to be filled in: need actual list of commands + undocumented details
/plot forsale [amount] /plot notforsale /plot claim /plot unclaim /town /town new [town_name] /town delete [town_name] /town claim /town unclaim /town join [town_name] /town leave /town withdraw [amount] /town deposit [amount] /town set mayor [resident] /town set plotprice [price] /town eminentdomain /town chaton /town chatoff /stuckAdvertising
to be filled in: wilderness shouting, open house parties, personal invitations
[Top Towns is usually best way. Usually requires at least 4 people, though it might work with as few as 1 during certain lulls. Mayors need to be prepared for a TT party by helping new residents and having plots available.]
to be filled in: right of way, glass/wool, statues, games, theme
Setting a plot price is tricky. The town needs gold to expand, but many people don't want to
wait two or three days to save up enough gold to buy a plot, and if you are just starting out,
you may want to sell below cost just to get residents. If you do that, you will have to
subsidize the town with your own gold (
/town deposit XXX).
So how much does it REALLY cost to make plots for your residents? It costs 333 gold to claim a new plot for your town, so the default sell price is 333 gold. However, once the plot sells, there is a 30% tax, so the town only gets 233 back. You would need to sell for 476 gold to get the full 333 gold back for the next plot.
BUT, if your town has 16x16 right of ways, almost half of your plots are wasted. Let's say you have a main road with plots on both sides, and every 5th plot has an opening for a cross street. Then you have 8 resident plots and 7 road plots, which is 47% road plots. This means for every 333 gold you spend on resident plots, you need 311 gold for road plots. That is 644 gold, but then there's taxes to compensate for, so, ultimately, you would need to charge 920 gold to fully break even on each sold resident plot!!
Unless you are the mayor of a mega city, you probably won't be able to sell plots for 920. Plan on subsidizing your own gold. If you collect 20 gold every hour and get roughly 180 gold a day (assuming you are able to check in 9 times), you get 1,260 gold per week. If you sell two resident plots a week, you can subsidize up to 630 gold on each plot. This means you can sell plots for 290 gold and come out OK. So this means that, if you go with the traditional 333 price, plan on making roughly four plots a week and selling two of them as resident plots. If you want to sell 3 resident plots a week, consider a selling price of 500.
IS THIS IT? If you are building a small town, struggling to grow, and going with the 16x16
right of way plan that is best long term, are you stuck with just selling two plots a week?
NO, because there are two other ways to get gold. First, if you have a close friend that
will go in with you, he/she can save up 1,260 gold also and donate it to the town (
donate 1260). It is
subject to a 30% tax, but it still helps a LOT. Second, you can buy gold with real world
dollars. You wouldn't want to pay $5/week indefinitely, but for 2-3 weeks it might be a
great way to boost your town if you are just starting out.
SO... if you have that extra help, just find out which column applies to you, then decide how many plots you want to sell - or CAN sell - per week. The chart below gives a suggested "break even" sell price.
There are three other factors to consider.
1. If your town is larger, periodically people will abandon plots (instead of selling them before leaving town), and when they sell again, the money goes to the town. This boosts the town income and might let you lower plot prices a little. (Also if people are leaving then there are more plots for sale and you won't need to make as many new ones.)
2. If your town is larger and makes the Top Towns regularly, you might want to set a price higher than the one recommended in the chart - on purpose - in order to curb demand (i.e., if price goes up, number of people willing / able to buy a plot goes down). This means that your town will accumulate gold each week, allowing your town to "splurge" on expensive wool decorations, etc. This is why the huge cities in the game are so rich while the small towns struggle so much.
3. If you sell plots for a price too low, you will attract people that might have just joined the game for the first time, get a cheap plot, make their house, then get bored and never come back in the game. If someone is willing to pay a higher price for a plot, that usually means the person is serious about playing the game and saving gold and is going to stay a while. You want these kind of people in your town, because when they are in your town, it boosts the town person count which will put it in the Top Towns list. (It is very tempting to sell plots to anyone off the street for any price, and it feels good to have "mercy" on them, but remember, if you want to make Top Towns, you want those good people and you have a limited number of plots to sell. So choose wisely!)
And here are a couple of miscellaneous factors.
A. A lot of towns with 16x16 rights of way have elaborate roads with premium blocks (that you have to buy) like cobblestone and glass. If this is your plan, that reduces the town income each week that could be used for plots. (Then again, you want something special that sets your town apart, so choose wisely based on your weekly income. Consider also tree trunk wood which is somewhat harder to get but FREE.)
B. I have noticed, surprisingly, that a lot of people want plots with houses already on them. (You would think they would want to start from scratch and make something entirely their own.) I think perhaps it helps people get started more quickly, and they can focus on decorating and socializing, and they can add to their house size later. To "entice" people to buy, instead of reducing price, you can also, as mayor, pre-build starter houses for people. You can also usually do this using FREE blocks from the wilderness (including sand). Leave open holes for the windows rather than buying expensive glass; the new resident can put glass in later.
to be filled in: time consuming plot clearing, waiting for TT/friends, etc. TT not as effective as in the past
Griefers and Problem Residents
Consult the table below. Note that ALL items in the table are things I've actually had to deal with as mayor.
|Person using foul or suggestive language||In the chat window, click on the offensive item, then click "Report." If a sufficient number of residents do the same, they will be muted for 24 hours.|
|Sexting||Report users the same way you would foul language (above). If that doesn't work,
a clever idea is to temporarily turn off town chat (
|Person standing in way of someone (preventing them from mining blocks under him/her or just being plain irritating)||Move on to another project, or visit another town for a while. Just try to ignore them as best as you can. They will eventually get bored and leave the game.|
|Person impersonating the mayor||Prove you are the real mayor by adding/removing blocks on "~Unowned" land. Word will usually spread quickly about what is going on. If the problem person persists in causing trouble, they can be reported in the same way you would foul language.|
|Resident is selling plot for excessive price (e.g., 10,000 gold)||Kindly ask them to reduce price or sell/give it back to the town. If they refuse, and the plot is needed, you can use eminent domain to buy the plot back for the ORIGINAL plot price plus 50 gold. The plot will reset and have to be re-cleared. You could also wait 30 days to see if the user becomes inactive and thus the plot reverts back to the town automatically.|
|Resident is blocking/destroying roads||Use 16x16 right of way style so roads don't have to be shared with resident plots. Kindly ask resident to fix the roads or relocate to another plot. If resident is missing or doesn't cooperate, see if neighbors can donate part of their plot for a road, or if you can otherwise claim land to go around the blockage. Eminent domain can be used as a last resort (which returns the gold to the plot owner and forces them to move).|
to be filled in: the popularity effect. [also, semi-related: the donate-for-a-free-plot scheme]
to be filled in: mountains (multi-elevation vs. clearing), water
to be filled in: normal part of game, how can you bounce back, even cooperate (boost TT)
to be filled in: the final frontier. everyone making towns, discounting plots. Who will come out ahead? What is that final thing to give you the edge and be in (limited) Top Towns (ultimate scorecard)? [or is your goal town size?]