TL;DR: I'd like to be able to get all of our players into a Discord server, any thoughts on how to best accomplish this?
I'm developing a networked multiplayer-only game, and would like to sell it as a First Access title while it's in development, much like Overland (Although our game will be F2P when it fully releases, and the early purchasers will be given extra perks at that time).
Being a multiplayer-only game, having a lot of active users is very important to keep the game alive; but being a first access game, we will only have a small group of early adopters. Therein lies the rub.
Our planned solution to this is to get all of our early adopters into a Discord server. In the discord server, they'll be able to say "queue up, I wanna play" and someone will indeed queue up, and they will indeed play. That's the idea anyway. A really neat part of this is that the developers will be in that Discord server as well, and we will be collecting a lot of feedback, issues, suggestions, etc. from our players, as well as just hanging out with them. :)
Ideally, the second someone buys our game, they'd automatically receive an e-mail with a 1-person invitation to our Discord server. Admittedly, I'm not quite sure how to put that together.
An alternative solution is that we can embed a non-expiring, unlimited link into the build, but that wouldn't be ideal as anyone could get into the discord, and we'd like to keep it to just the First Access purchasers.
Any and all thoughts, tips, comments, questions, and concerns would be much appreciated! :)
Oh, actually Amos, you mention encouraging them to play through the itch app, is there a way to enforce the game only getting played through the app? I can enforce this from my end via the authentication, but it would be so much clearer for the players if there was an itch feature that just said "Only playable through itch client" and didn't allow them to download the build separately.
There's no way to do that yet, when we first released the app we promised that it wouldn't replace the website — basically, that the option to download from web would remain there. There's alternative ways to authenticate using the server-side API: https://itch.io/docs/api/serverside — you could ask folks for their e-mail, check that they've indeed purchased the game using that e-mail, and send them an e-mail with their Discord key!