Hey Collectivenouns!

Sometimes a game’s community management strategy involves giving the players a collective name. Creating an identity for them… binding them together with nickname glue…

It’s very common in large multiplayer games with robust community management teams. But today I was looking at my Steam library and I noticed a couple smaller singleplayer games doing it as well. It has penetrated community management good-practices completely… now, even tiny indies are doing it.

  • Epistory, a typing game which came out in 2016, still actively communicates with its players and calls them Fox Riders
  • Hundred Days, a smallish wine-themed strategy and puzzle game, calls its players fellow winemakers
  • Shelter, a much-bundled short indie adventure game from 2013, still communicates about new games in the series to players via the Steam page, and calls those players Badgers

I found it extremely amusing to quickly go down my Steam library and just note down every game that has a nickname for its playerbase. I don’t hate the practice, but sometimes it feels like a stretch, and seeing what some folks choose to name their community is very funny.

Some, for example, just slightly alter the name of the game.

Others describe precisely what the player does in the game.

In some genres, this leads to similar games having similar collective names for the playerbase. In Dyson Sphere Project and Factorio, players are engineers; in Monster Crown and Temtem, both Pokemon-alikes, they are Tamers.

Some games name the player some lore-friendly term from the world of the game.

  • In Against the Storm, which I’ve been playing a ton of lately, the players are Viceroys. This is the name of their role in the game as well.
  • In Industries of Titan–a game I wrote for–the player is called Founder in the plot as well as in the community management materials.

Some of the names are just silly. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Goat Simulator calls the players goats
  • Buoyancy, a waterworld-style citybuilder, calls its players Buoyancies (???)
  • Nebudchadnezzar, an in-dev citybuilder, calls its players rulers of Mesopotamia
  • I still cannot get over the fellow winemakers from Hundred Days. It says so much about the intended vibe

My least favorite is Going Medieval calling its players medievalists. No!! They are not!!

My current list is here. I just browsed around until I found fifty games on Steam that do this–and it took me only thirty minutes! I’m sure my library has many more that I didn’t find.

In the end, however, I found maybe twice as many games that do not do this. Most of the games in my library begin their comms with some variation on “hey all,” “hello everyone,” or some highly direct call-to-action about some DLC or ingame event. “Prepare for the Halloween Event,” etc.

Do you know any other games that use the collective name technique? Do they have any particularly funny names?

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Both Bungie and pretty obvious but:

Destiny - “Guardians
Halo - “Spartans

Edit: Added reference. Literally the first news article on each official site, hah.

Edit 2: ADDING MORE

Vangers - “Wheeler
Dwarf Fortress - “Urist
Overkill - “filthy robot army
Necrosmith - “Necromancer
Darktide - “Rejects
Warframe - Tenno
Death Stranding - “Porters
Katana Kami - “fellow Samurai

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wow players are popularly referred to as ‘idiots’

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Xenogears players are referred to as “prophets” for having “played” Xenogears there is only one path. That is, playing more Xenogears, duh.

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sbers
sbutts
butts
I still like “sisbros” but I guess it makes gender problems

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Goodnight, you princes of Babylon, you rulers of Mesopotamia.

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eve online : “capsuleers” (referring to the canonical goo pods from within which players pilot spaceships)

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Slime Rancher occasionally calls people “Ranchers” but you gotta dig for it. They haven’t done it for Slime Rancher 2 that I can find.

Hunt: Showdown unsurprisingly calls players “Hunters”

Townscaper called players “Townscapers” occasionally. But not consistently. EDIT: Oh this was already on your list oops!

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League of Legends calls it’s players ‘Summoners’.
Magic the Gathering has players as ‘Planeswalkers’.

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WARRIORS OF LIGHT in final fantasy 14 (and adventurers when it’s referencing players that aren’t you)

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path of exile’s developer, unsurprisingly, often calls its players exiles, and the in-game dialogue “still sane exile?” from one npc is a meme asked by other players whenever players post about weird bugs or comically bad RNG

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a prize for the first studio to openly refer to its punters as “you fuckin people”

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I call everyone fuckers. it’s gender neutral and gets ones attention. there’s an added bonus of a possible top/bottom argument. feel free to steal this game developers

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The earliest online example I can think of is Zefrank, back when he was uploading a video a day (not on youtube) they called their viewers “Sports racers” This is not however videogame related.


I kinda like select buttoners, its not graceful but it sounds like we have buttons that need buttoning but only the select ones.

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Select buttoneers

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yeah the extra E adds the flair i want

I think my favorite ones are the ones that create a sense of pompous fellowship. That’s why I like “fellow winemakers,” “rulers of Mesopotamia,” and so on. They’re also funnier when they are so long and awkward that it’s difficult for the people writing the news posts to use them in a sentence. (Select buttoneers is good in both of these ways, because you can treat “select” like an adjective here.)

I’m thinking that the reason so many small indies do this now is because the community management career has become more robust and supported over the years, with known best practices and so on… I would love to read whatever writing helped to popularize this practice

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i was trying to think of what gemstone does but oh yeah thats right, nothing. it doesnt have a community manager to give them a name. theres a facebook group called ‘gemstoners’ and its not even about smoking weed

i will always call sb people butts because of ffxiv but (butt) also because describing a group of them as ‘a grip of butts’ was one of the best phrases to come out of my mouth last year

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Damn gemstoners is so good!! They’re fools for not using that one

It might also be funny or cute to use gemstone related terms that share no elements with the game title. Cabochons… diamonds… carats… etc

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whats up all my clear zircons!

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