Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf is a turn-based strategy game with elements of a collectible card game. It's being developed by Kaliningrad-based company HeroCraft under a Games Workshop license. The game was first released in October 2014 on iOS. In July 2015, the Android version came about.
About the audience.
An active community started to form around our game shortly before our iOS release in 2014. We noticed how our then-future users were actively communicating and answering questions on our newly-created Facebook page. It was immediately clear that we had to keep such a mature and intelligent audience – that we could and had to work with them, encourage them, and listen to their opinions and advice.
We work with the community quite a lot. We have a Facebook community; a small Vkontakte group (VKontakte is a Russian social media platform), which, by the way, was created by fans, so it's open and democratic, we later took it under our wing, and it's currently under our moderation; a Reddit thread (before we had our own forum, English-speaking players created their own mini-forum and communicated there), and, of course, our own forum. By the way, while we're talking numbers, 80% of Space Wolf players are Android users, and only 20% use iOS.
We understand that there are two main types of players: fans of the universe and the ones who simply like hardcore strategies. We're not planning to create another public community for the Warhammer 40,000 universe. So we try to stick to the unique content policy in our groups. Mainly that means game news (updates and changes), announcements, events, and promo code giveaways, as well as some interesting information about the Warhammer universe.
Promo code giveaways.
Our players love promo code giveaways. These traditionally occur on Fridays. Each promo code is usually active through the weekend, until Monday. During the time the game and its community have existed, we've given away a lot of unique content that was only available by redeeming promo codes. (You can find more information about promo codes in this article.)
Unique content: White Thunderwolf giveaway.
Our first unique content giveaway was to celebrate the first winter after the game's release: a White Thunderwolf card. We gave away a single promo code each day, until players had a unique maximum-level card. It's unique because it can only be acquired with a promo code – it can't be forged or even bought. Naturally, we were stormed with "what about us?" requests from Android users since the Android version was still in development. We promised to repeat the event and fulfilled that promise by arranging another giveaway after the release on Google Play. Since then, all of our new players have been asking how they can get White Thunderwolf – everybody wants it!
This is now the White Thunderwolf card looks like
This is how the in-game model of the Wolf looks like
Unique content: White Wolf's Legacy cards giveaway.
Our second unique weapons giveaway was carried out differently. We added a popup window in the game that had a link to a Facebook post which contained the promo code for this fully-upgraded weapon. That way, people who hadn't known about our community before this (even though there's a link to it in Settings) found out about it. The number of players who redeemed those three promo codes was a pleasant surprise: 200% higher than the previous event, where we didn't use an in-game notification.
A set of unique cards was given away
The pop up info window in the game letting the players know about the giveaway
Here's a chart that shows how quickly the number of likes on our official Facebook page increased during this unique weapon giveaway:
But working with the community is not just about promo codes. On both Facebook and VKontakte, we have top players who act as our ambassadors. What does that mean? An ambassador is a player who knows the game well and actively helps other players, giving recommendations and sometimes assisting with the resolution of known technical issues. We respect these guys very much and regularly communicate with them, providing them with some benefits for their activity and sometimes inviting them to test something out before releasing it.
An interesting example: before releasing a new game mode, the team decided to test the mode's balance by offering early access to some top players. And you know what? During the subsequent 10 days of testing, the mode's balance was overhauled 4 times.
In conclusion I’d like to say that working with the community is a very important part of developing and popularising your game.