Rock, Paper, Shotgun has one of the friendliest and most active games communities online, but it's possible that you've never peeled back the mask of the frontpage to discover the forums, guilds and game groups that lie beyond.
If you're intrigued and you'd like to join the forum, find people to play with, or chat with other RPS readers, read on for a guide to what's happening and instructions on how to get involved.
The community is welcoming and it's straightforward to sign up, but if you need to know where to go, what to do or who to speak to, these links will jump you to a relevant guide:
General discussion between readers doesn't only take place in the comments section beneath articles, but also on the awesome forum which (at the time of writing) features close to 1,000 active members and over 11,000 threads.
The forum is open to anyone and folks post about a range of topics. There's also a specific place for people to promote their own game-making efforts or similar projects.
All users are expected to abide by the rules, which are focused around being excellent to one another to promote a friendly, positive and constructive atmosphere. These tenets are implemented by five active moderators (including me!) to ensure users are in a position to discuss whichever topic they like in a place they can come back to on a daily basis.
How to get involved: Simply register on the forum and start participating. Note that you'll be unable to start new threads until you hit 8 posts; this is so we can keep spammers at bay.
Out of the forum's ocean of intelligent discussion emerged many users who play games together. RPS' highest profile communities based on the main site are the PlanetSide 2 and Guild Wars 2 devotees. RPS members in these worlds have put on huge events open to hundreds of players, alongside their weekly intra-oufit (or intra-guild) sessions. Here's how to sign-up:
Our community is spread across two factions, Vanu Sovereignty and New Conglomerate. Both outfits are based on the server Miller (EU) and share a lot of the same players.
The spandex superstars of Vanu's Rock Planet Shotgun and the freedom fighters of Rock Traitor Shotgun can be found online pretty much every night, running casual raids in groups of 10 or more. This is in addition to their regular, scheduled outings on Wednesdays (for the Vanu) and Fridays (for the Conglomerate). I have personally joined them on a few evenings and can say they're a blast to play with, always providing a welcoming atmosphere even for complete newbies like myself.
How to get involved: Both communities are based out of our PlanetSide 2 forum which you can find here. In order to join a specific outfit, you'll need a character of one of the relevant factions on Miller server (EU).
Once you have that, it's a simple case of heading over to this thread (for the Vanu) or this thread (for the Conglomerate) and posting your in-game character name. Vanu players will then have to give a member of the outfit a poke on our Mumble server (more on that below) to get an invite. New Conglomerate recruits should receive an invite in-game immediately.
From there, it's a simple case of jumping online and joining the outfit squads from the social side of the PS2 interface. If possible, make sure you're on Mumble most evenings (EU time) to get coordinated.
Guild Wars 2
Another RPS community that's been going since 2012 is Rock Paper Signet, a Guild Wars 2 guild based on Gunnar's Hold (EU). Together, the Signets have conquered many challenges in each aspect of the game, whether it be helping comrades achieve the coveted Dungeon Master achievement, boosting our server in WvW, hosting intraguild sPvP tournaments or managing the biggest original PvE events in the game.
Despite having close to 400 members, the guild is still openly recruiting people who are interested in a casual but active set of friends to play with. Like the PlanetSide 2> players, there's folks online every night, although you'll find more when specific events are planned.
How to get involved: You'll need an account based on the EU servers - it doesn't really matter what you picked as your home server, as we only use that when in WvW.
Read this post and then reply with your account name (e.g. Krathor.9514). You'll likely receive an invite in-game the same day, so check the guild panel and remember to click 'Represent' after accepting in order to participate in chat.
RPS has had an unofficial Minecraft server for years and it has continued to thrive throughout all the changes to the game. The map is now impressively populated with landmarks left by generations of players as they've come and gone. Buildings continue to be thrown up as the whitelist expands to accommodate new blood and I'd encourage anyone to give it a try.
How to get involved: The best way is to start by checking out this thread, as it explains which build of the game the server is running and how you can connect. There are also loads of useful links there to help new and returning players adjust to life on uRPS.
If you'd like to be added to the server's building whitelist, post in the thread with your username and a bit of background information on your time in the game. Someone will usually add you within a couple of days so you can get crafting.
Dota 2 is a forum favourite among regulars with around 30 active players during the week. As there's so many people playing, getting a team together is easy and the wide range of skill levels makes for some interesting compositions. So long as there's enough folks online simultaneously, we also hold custom lobbies with interesting twists on normal gameplay.
Heroes of the Storm is also proving really successful, thanks to beta codes raining down on the community during March and April. RPS' 20-minute romps in Heroes provides a nice alternative to the hour-long hardcore sessions of insanity that Dota matches can become.
Whatever your poison, it's pretty easy to join up with other RPSers for a game or two. It's really important to note that it doesn't matter how good you are if we're in casual matches; it's just fun to play with people you know a little.
How to get involved: Both MOBAs have their places on the forum, with the big Dota thread being here and Heroes being here. Joining up with fellow players is simple; just post your relevant username in those threads (Steam for Dota and Battle.net for Heroes) and wait for other people to add you.
Them Other Games
Click here and look at all of those threads. Look at them! Those are all games that people like you have expressed an interest in playing with others. Heck, in April 2015 alone we've seen loads of activity pick up in Cities: Skylines, GTA Online, Killing Floor 2 and Torchlight 2 - among others!
It may seem like everyone posting about these games knows each other, which is how they can play together so easily. This is not the case and most users haven't even spoken to each other before diving into a game together. I have had a blast playing different games over the past few years with hundreds of people from across the community.
How to get involved (in any game, really): After registering on the forum, cast your peepers here and see if anything piques your interest. If you're looking for something specific, a full list of active communities has been compiled by Challenger2uk and can be found here, which can help narrow your search.
If you do spot something you like, feel free to post in the thread and others may be up for joining you in the game. From there, it's a simple case of ensuring you set a time to play, adding interested people on Steam/Origin/Battle.net and jumping on Mumble as appropriate.
Some of our communities (like Arma) require you to sign up with an external website or shouting for an invite on Mumble.
If you are required to sign up on an external, community-run website, then the related post on the forum will instruct you how to do it. Note that this is for the minority of games and organisation for most titles is based off the main forum.
Mumble is a program that enables players across the world to communicate with one another through voice in (almost) real-time. It operates in similar ways to TeamSpeak and Ventrilo, which are also utilised in other online communities.
Through some totally unscientific experimentation, we've found that Mumble generally works the best for most people, most of the time. The server is used for almost every game RPSers play together, from Battlefield to Warframe and has hundreds of users on a daily basis.
We like it so much because...
1) Folks can just use it to chill out, talk with one another or randomly find games to play together. You can connect on any given evening and find players willing to dive into a selection of games, from MMOs to online pen-and-paper titles. If you're new to the community, hopping on Mumble can be one of the best ways to get to know other members just by having a chat and a game.
2) It's also used for huge, pre-planned events like those held by Guild Wars 2 and PlanetSide 2 players. These are usually highly-advertised evenings of fun that are open to folks outside of the normal RPS community. I speak from experience when I say Mumble is invaluable when hosting one of these nights for the level of coordination it can offer.
Before using Mumble, it's worth noting two things:
1) You definitely don't have to use a microphone: We understand folks may not have quality voice equipment, or just don't feel like talking. That's totally cool and there's no pressure to speak up.
2) For those of us who do like talking, the same rules apply as on the forum: Be excellent. This includes treating people as your equal and not engaging in hostility.
If you do come across someone who rubs you up the wrong way, note that Mumble offers a 'local mute' option which silences them for you - just right-click the person in the channel and select it. If you spot a user who is evidently breaking the rules, please feel free to contact one of the administrators and we'll see to it soon as possible.
How to get involved: Joining Mumble is easy, just download from the official site, install it and click 'Server' at the top of the client.
After selecting 'Connect', you'll want to add the RPS using these details:
If you have any problems, please stick them in this thread. Many thanks to Cei for setting up and administrating the server, which has been invaluable in helping the community.
Stick them in the comments below and I'll do my best to respond to them. Alternatively, you can give me a poke via PM on the forum.